ESU WESS Radio Offers Podcasts for Listeners

Posted by: Valentina Caval on October 2, 2015, No Comments

So you failed to catch DJ Brian Silva playing the soundtrack from the musical “Jersey Boys” and giving his insights on the story during his show, “Brian on Broadway.”

Until last week, you would have been out of luck. Now you can hear free podcasts of all the WESS shows for two weeks after they air on East Stroudsburg University’s 90.3 FM WESS radio, thanks to Radio Free America. To hear a broadcast, listeners can go to www.radiofreeamerica.com and enter the station’s name. They can search by the date of the broadcast or by a specific DJ.

“Radio Free America lets us record the show and automatically archives it,” said Brian Silva, the WESS program director and an ESU senior majoring in communication studies. “The entire show is available for anyone to listen to for up to two weeks.”

The podcasts will expand listenership because people can hear programs at their convenience, rather than only when the shows are aired. Distinguished Professor and Chair of Communication Studies Rob McKenzie, Ph.D., the WESS faculty adviser, said it is especially exciting for the disc jockeys, whose families, friends and fans weren’t always able to listen to their shows due to work schedules or other conflicts.

“They’re thrilled because moms and dads can now listen to their students’ shows in really convenient places, like the car,” said McKenzie, host of “The Talk Show” on WESS..

It will also help the student disc jockeys who are hoping to go professional.

“Now it gives them a great way to demo their skill set to prospective employers without having to mail a CD,” McKenzie said. “They can just direct them to the Radio Free America website where the employer can listen.”

The podcasts come just in time for the celebration of National College Radio Day on Friday, October 2. From 11 a.m.- 5 p.m. on the quad, WESS will feature live music, food, games and even a dunk tank. McKenzie said he’s agreed to be a target for the dunk tank as long as it’s 65 degrees or warmer outside.

The Radio Free America podcast service is free to WESS. Each show can only remain in podcast for two weeks after it airs because of copyright laws governing the music the shows play.

“It’s going to be really good for us and good for ESU,” McKenzie said. “I’m predicting that it’s going to change the entire paradigm of content in ways that we can’t predict.”

Radio has always been about what is happening at the moment, he said. But once DJs realize that some people will hear their show days later, it will change what they talk about, he said.

In 2014, WESS beat out more than 100 other college radio stations, including those at Boston University, University of California at Berkeley and University of South Carolina, to win the prestigious mtvU College Radio Woodie Award. MtvU is a subsidiary of MTV and Viacom and broadcasts at 750 universities.

McKenzie said the diversity of programs on WESS is one of its greatest strengths. The station airs talk shows, such as the “Sistah Chat Radio” with host Alicia Middleton, aka DJ Madame Raine, a graduate student, and “Hangin’ Bang,” run by DJs Greg Curtis and Shane Adamson. It broadcasts music programs ranging from rap and hip-hop to classical to rock, jazz, rhythm and blues, alternative rock and Broadway show tunes.

“We want our DJs to be experts in what they’re talking about when they open up the microphone so we let them choose,” McKenzie said. “We don’t say you have to play country, or you have to play alternative rock if you want a show.”

Thanks to live streaming of shows on the Internet, some programs have fans all over the world. The Brain Tumor Talk World Wide Radio Show, which runs 6-7 p.m. Fridays, has a global fan base. The show is hosted by Rick Franzo, an ESU alumnus, a two-time brain tumor survivor and supervisor at the Barnes and Noble College Bookstore on campus. On air, he interviews other survivors and people working in the field of brain tumors.

Jill Deiley, the WESS station manager, hosts music shows 9-10 p.m. Tuesdays and 7-8 p.m. Wednesdays, attracting fans from as far away as Europe.
WESS does sportscasts of ESU football and basketball games and other sporting events and airs the BBC World Service for national and international news. Listeners can catch Vintage Radio 9 a.m. to noon Mondays through Thursdays, in which they’ll hear old shows from the 1930s to 1950s, such as The Jack Benny Show, The Lone Ranger and The Shadow.