The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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Taking it to the web

In traditional success story fashion, it all started out with a goal: the executive board and general members of St. John University’s home radio station WSJU wanted to be heard by a larger audience and to reach more people.

Limited by only being able to broadcast on campus and without an AM or FM license, going online was the natural progression. After feverishly working towards their goal for nearly two and half years, the culmination of their hard work has finally paid off and, in addition to broadcasting in Marillac Hall and in the residence halls, WSJU is now broadcasting online as of the beginning of the fall semester.

The current general manager of WSJU, senior Al Ragone, is very excited about the progress the station has made. Ragone, along with former general managers Joe Lobosco and Rob Tausch, are responsible for WSJU being able to have the opportunity to broadcast on the Internet.

In the years preceding 2007, WSJU members had tried to pursue the same goal of broadcasting online, but to no success. It wasn’t until Lobosco, Ragone and Tausch pursued the issue that real progress was forged.  

“In 2007, we were broadcasting on campus but it wasn’t the whole pie,” said Lobosco.

“We wanted to have a broader fan base because St. John’s doesn’t have an AM or FM license as it is.We, as radio people, and people who are communications majors and even people who take an interest in the radio station as an extracurricular activity, felt that if we weren’t going to have a signal, we needed another avenue to be heard.”

They reasoned that if the College of Professional Studies offered a communications major, there should be avenues for the students to get real hands-on experience to test the waters and see if they should continue to pursue TV or radio.

“We take pride in this because it’s our school. The feeling was very much that every major radio station has an Internet broadcast right now. Why shouldn’t we,” said Lobosco.

What makes Internet broadcasting so appealing an avenue to take is that Ragone, Lobosco and Tausch, along with the many other dedicated staff were able to see its evolution and subsequent take-off during their stay at St. John’s. They were also able to execute their dream within the University and did not have to do any outsourcing.

“Throughout most of 2007, it was a lot of ‘we’ll get back to you’ and ‘we’ll let you know’,” said Ragone.

It was not until the spring of 2008 when Lobosco and Tausch were elected to the executive board of WSJU that any real headway was made.

“We were told that we could go off campus but then we would have to spend the whole year [2008-09] and the following summer preparing,” said Lobosco.

“We were basically given a lot of information about what we would have to do before this could happen and that involved speaking about licenses we needed to broadcast with, and requirements,” he said.

Lobosco knew that there were obstacles, but the staff knew it was worth all of the hard work.

“This has been an aspiration of ours for quite some time. We had to get past a lot of obstacles and red tape as far as the administration was concerned,” he said. “We dealt with different people along the way. Ultimately, some were more helpful than others.”

Despite any difficulties they may have encountered, the experience as a whole served as a learning process for all of the students involved.

“The project seemed like a class within itself. We learned how to write proposals, prepare an agenda, and navigate through a lot of uncertain areas of the administration and policies. And, most of all, we learned patience,”said Lobosco. 

Without the help of the faculty of the University, progress would not have been possible.

 “The real turning point was getting in touch with members of the administration and faculty members who saw that we were committed in seeing our dream become realized and shared our passion for having our school finally be able to have this opportunity become available to its students and add another great aspect to St. Johns University,” said Lobosco. “They helped us tremendously,” he said 

Now with a new breath of air, WSJU is looking towards the future, to take the station even futther.

 “We’ve already seen improvements in every department,” said Ragone “We’re booking more promotional events, we’re getting more creative with things we edit and record in our production department and we’re putting them on air.”

The focus now is expanding on their Internet broadcasting.

“Having the Internet is just as effective as having an FM station,” said Ragone.

Given the lack of any real time to advertise and promote their new venture, word of mouth has played a major role in fan base spikes.

“Everybody’s telling all their friends at different universities and campuses that they have their own radio talk show and they’re getting a lot of callers, a lot of e-mails,” said Ragone.

“After they’ve seen us be active with the university for our first year, they’ll see that and they’re going to know what we offer. We’re trying to find better ways to advertise, way to get the word out to the residence halls as well.”

Not forgetting their roots, both Ragone and Lobosco stressed the importance of catering to their home base – the students and faculty of St. John’s University. 

 “For any other student organization that has an idea or vision that can impact St. John’s University for the better, make the effort to organize, reach out, and present your ideas because that’s the most effective way to find out with a certainty if it’s possible or not,” said Lobosco.

 

 

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