As I Remember It - A Memoir Of WPSC Radio 590
by Joe Nicolosi

The Beginning Of WPSC News

The first installment from Joe Nicolosi detailing the very humble beginnings of radio broadcasting from William Paterson University.

WPSC had recently relocated to the Campus School following the transformation of what was essentially a stage into a functioning broadcast studio. This was accomplished by William Paterson students using their skills and manual labor. I am not mentioning them, since I don’t like to use names without permission but they know who they are if they are reading this, and their contributions were significant indeed. They built the walls, the first control panel, set up turntables (the only practical way of playing music was on vinyl, queuing up each song before it was needed) and building the first functioning WPSC transmitter which was put on the top floor of Pioneer Hall Dormitory (it could have been Heritage Hall, but I am pretty sure it was Pioneer). Among other things, I was interested in letting people know where we were, so I painted the first WPSC Radio 590 logo on the entry door.

In those days (1968-1972) all news departments relied on teletype machines, the major U.S. ones being the Associated Press or United Press International. Classic background noise to a news broadcast was the almost continuous typing of one or more of these machines delivering the latest happenings. Occasionally one could hear the tearing of paper as news personnel tore a feed from a machine for broadcast on the air. A series of bells would signal urgent news releases and the number of bells would define the degree of urgency. A series of 10 bells on the UPI machine meant “STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING AND READ THIS NOW!!!”

Since WPSC was growing and the need for up-to-date news was essential, as the News Director for a time, (during my 4 years at WPC I served WPSC as Station Manager, Program Director, News Director, talk show host, news broadcaster and D.J.) and with the help of Dr. Maltese, I managed to procure a United Press International teletype and the monthly funds to pay for it, thus establishing the first of what could be called a WPSC newsroom, complete with background chatter.

The news is always important, but back then we were in the midst of the Vietnam War with all its tragedy and students necessarily wanted to know what was going on as it was occurring. William Paterson College along with essentially all institutions of higher learning and other entities were holding anti-war demonstrations, candlelight vigils, etc. and WPSC as the voice of WPC was expected to cover these events not only on our campus but nationally. And…. If we wanted to continue to grow and attract and hold a listening audience… our coverage had better be good. (I am pleased to say, it apparently was). One of the events I especially recall was when President Nixon in 1969 declared that the war was ending and then in April of 1970 ordered the expansion of the war into Cambodia – this resulted in escalated nationwide anti-war demonstrations and unfortunately resulted in the shooting of 4 students at Kent State University by the Ohio National Guard during a demonstration.

Some other early accomplishments of WPSC were the 24 hour coverage of one of the Apollo space flights using a feed from WABC radio in New York and sponsored by the Passaic Herald News, and what I believe was the first live broadcast which I did over WPSC-TV when a significant earthquake hit California in 1971.

That’s it for now, but I hope to send additional memoirs regarding the challenges and accomplishments of WPSC Radio. – As I Remember It.

Updated:  Wednesday, June 29, 2016
Page By:  Joe Nicolosi