WMSC: Out from Underground
College Radio Debut at Schmitt Hall
It’s 10:16am on Wednesday, January 23. WMSC’s long-time listeners heard these words, the first spoken from the radio station’s new, state-of-the-art studios in Conrad J. Schmitt Hall: “WMSC NOW BEGINS ITS BROADCAST DAY. WMSC IS OPERATED BY THE STUDENTS OF MONTCLAIR STATE UNIVERSITY AND IS LICENSED TO OPERATE ON CHANNEL 212 WITH AN EFFECTIVE RADIATED POWER OF POINT-8-6 WATTS. WMSC IS BROADCAST ON 90-POINT-3 FM AND STREAMS ON THE WEB AT WMSCRADIO-DOT-COM…”
A moment later, DJs Elena Badillo ’13 and Tom Kaminski ’84 were playing the first song from Schmitt, REM’s “We All Go Back to Where We Belong.” A new chapter in the life of Montclair State’s campus radio was unfolding. WMSC has been broadcasting from the Student Center basement (Room 110) for about 40 years. Our last show from the old location was Joltin’ Joe (Pszonek)’s Radio Nowhere. Our engineering staff “pulled the plug” at the Student Center at 7:00 pm Tuesday, January 22nd. The first full show the next morning featured The Boogie Man - Michael Trainor. Mike on the Mic, Wolf Radio and Claudio Audio soon followed. “The launch went even better than expected,” says Radio General Manager Dick Hinchliffe. “You could feel the energy and excitement as students worked the new equipment in brand new digs. The future was being born right before our eyes. WMSC is transforming itself into a learning lab for students, a service for the University and a more popular source of music, news and entertainment for listeners in the Montclair area — and around the world, via the web. Every day we’re on this ride together, this new adventure.”
A new adventure indeed with still the same college feel. WMSC is a free-form station with a variety of shows that showcase different genres and personalities. Those genres range from alternative rock to world beat – and WMSC has everything in between. Despite the differences, everyone shares common ground: their love for the music, the talk and the quality. Silas Kezengwa, host of Silas LIVE! had this to say: “The minute I walked into Studio A, a thrill of excitement rushed through my body. I am so grateful to have such an incredible opportunity and resource here at Montclair State. I can’t wait for what’s to come from my time at WMSC.” And Silas isn’t the only one who is excited about their time here.
With the new equipment comes a slow and steady change to digital, namely a change of our entire CD library being put on a playlist that DJs can access with the click of a mouse. Mike Claudio, the host of Claudio Audio, was impressed with the new technology.“Excitement is the only word to describe how I felt about doing my show in the new station for the first time,” he says. “I could not wait to rock off those beautiful Pioneer CDJ’s! The three hours of my show flew by and I had a blast getting to use all the new equipment.” With this move, the station has become bigger and more advanced.
In the past, DJs had to cram their guests into the studio with their backs to them, running the board as the guests crowded around one or two microphones in what can only be described as a claustrophobic’s worst nightmare. And if a mic were to be down it’d make matters even worse. However in Schmitt, the DJ who runs the board has the luxury of being able to look at their guests. With three mics in the on-air studio, and 4 extra mics in the adjacent Talk Studio, a DJ can do a lot more.
But it’s not just talk shows that are easier. WMSC now has the space and technology to do a proficient live show featuring a band behind the glass in the nearby Performance Studio. “For my first show I really wasn’t sure what to expect,” says Japan Nick (Perkel) of Japan Nick’s Rock and Metal Pandemonium. “I have been DJ-ing at WMSC since April 2009 and it really was like passing through uncharted waters at first. With all these new faders it can be somewhat intimidating. However I also felt the pressure to become more professional…. The opportunities here enable me to do so much more. I look forward to recording live events with bands that may see inclusion on an album.” If the name of his show didn’t give you a hint, he caters to metal fans. But fans of the new WMSC have metal and more. There’s metal, underground rock, EDM, funk, punk, hip-hop, jazz, country, ethnic music and folk – plus talk shows about sports, politics and lifestyles. And much more to come.
WMSC’s Student Management Team wants to thank everyone—past and present—for supporting college radio at Montclair State all these years. And they invite students, faculty and area listeners to stop by the station, say hello and help shape WMSC for years to come. Meanwhile, as the DJs like to say before introducing the next song, “Enjoy!”