Music Selection Guidelines Review Findings

As one of the nation's premiere college radio stations, WSOU strives to follow professional practices and industry-standard operating procedures in its daily operation. This cultural commitment to individual and organizational excellence, represented by the station's emphasis on student management coupled with an ethos of student accountability, is a major factor in WSOU's decades-long national reputation for excellence and why the station has produced thousands of highly successful alumni. The principles that guide WSOU programming are designed to aid WSOU's student management board, as well as the entire station's staff, as to what is and isn't appropriate to air on 89.5 FM. These principles were developed based upon FCC regulations, station history, current and past formats, and campus community input.

Advisory Review Update

The WSOU Handbook, which describes its operating procedures, calls for a periodic review of the station and its adherence to its Music Selection Guidelines. A formal review had not been conducted in some time and was overdue. In November 2020, the station’s advisory board formed a subcommittee comprised of WSOU members, WSOU alumni and members of the Seton Hall priest community, among others, to conduct a formal review of and issue a report to the Provost.

Based on the report findings the subcommittee and provost’s office agreed to programming modifications at the station which will allow WSOU to more accurately and securely reflect its mission, goals and long-held operating procedures. The modifications addressed three main areas: station formatics, incorporating and integrating Mission and Ministry further into WSOU’s programming, and staff training. In addition, the report calls for the continued review of station content and policies on an ongoing basis as well as the completion of a market survey by the end of summer 2021.

This report serves as a first step toward reaffirming the Advisory Board’s role in advising the University on outcomes of the station’s operations and its alignment with the University mission, reaffirming responsibilities and accountability of the WSOU staff members, and establishing an updated process for song selection.

Moving forward, regular reviews of progress on the aforementioned modifications will take place quarterly to ensure compliance with the review. In these, the Station’s General Manager, who reports to the Dean of the College of Communication and the Arts, will address, along with general station operations, the adherence to the Catholic mission, Catholic principles that guide WSOU, and selection of songs and bands. The Dean will, in turn, make quarterly reports to the Office of the Provost that provide assessment, recommendations and review of the station.

Seton Hall University's WSOU 89.5 FM was founded as a hands-on experiential-learning radio station. Launched on April 14, 1948, the station has always placed a premium on promoting student success and pre-professional development. An emphasis on student management, coupled with an ethos of student accountability, is a major factor in WSOU-FM's decades-long national reputation for excellence and why the station has produced thousands of highly successful alumni.

As part of its "learn by doing" mission, WSOU-FM strives to emulate "the real world" to prepare students for careers not just in broadcasting, but in any field they may choose. Understanding how to properly implement policies and procedures is essential for success in any workplace. In the realm of on-air programming, the station follows FCC regulations and University guidelines. All music heard on WSOU-FM is carefully screened for content to ensure that lyrics do not undermine the mission and values of Seton Hall University or violate FCC rules. As all radio stations do, songs in the WSOU-FM music library are edited to remove language in conflict with FCC regulations regarding indecency and obscenity. Unlike most other radio stations, WSOU-FM goes a step further to also remove lyrics that go against the Catholic principles that guide station programming. As a result of this two-step content review process, even though it sounds loud and heavy, the music heard on WSOU is some of the "cleanest" in broadcasting.

More information: Principles That Guide WSOU Programming


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