Feb. 19, 2013

College radio station celebrates 50 years on the air


On Feb. 18, WGSU celebrated the 50th anniversary of receiving a broadcast license. Pictured from left to right are: Oliver Horowitz '13, music director, Laura Vitto '13, station manager, Robert Freiburger, faculty adviser emeritus, Lecturer Michael Saffran '85, WGSU faculty director, and Debora Lee Lowery, communication department secretary. /PHOTO BY KEITH WALTERS '11



Fifty years ago, Geneseo created its own campus radio station, WGSU-FM. Since its establishment on Feb. 18, 1963, the station has served as a training lab for communication majors and a valuable activity for other students who want experience as on-air talent, or to learn management and engineering skills.

It is the second oldest of the SUNY college stations and among the oldest of all college stations in the state.

In celebration of the milestone, the college is planning a series of events in 2013, focusing primarily on alumni and faculty who were involved with the station.

"I appreciate the way WGSU serves numerous goals for our students," said Andrew Herman, associate professor and chair of the Department of Communication. "Certainly, it is a fun environment for students of any major in which lifelong friendships are born. But it also is a great way for many of our majors to bring theory into practice — to make the theories and concepts from our classes come to life as they run a fully-licensed radio station producing music, news and sports. And as a hockey fan, I love being able to listen to the Ice Knights when I can't make it to the game personally."

Numerous WGSU alumni went on to have successful careers in radio across the country. Alumni who work in Rochester radio include Chet Walker '78 and Joe Lomonaco '93, who are DJs at WHAM-AM, and Tony Infantino '76, the morning show personality on WARM 101.3 FM.

Communication Lecturer Mike Saffran '85 was a DJ, news director, program director and station manager as a student and is now the faculty adviser for WGSU. He is reaching out to WGSU alumni to help them reconnect or stay connected with WGSU via the WGSU Alumni Facebook group. As an alumnus, he's honored to be back at WGSU and to celebrate half a century of learning and fun.

"I'm thrilled being back at what's truly my ‘first love' of a radio station — and, in Geneseo, a place I love and for which I have such cherished memories," said Saffran. "I've returned not only for my dream job — seemingly, one I've been preparing for my entire adult life — but also for the opportunity to give back."