WPSC's First Broadcast Studio
by Joe Nicolosi

Converting The Stage In The "Little Theater"

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

Hello everyone – I hope all is well. It has been a while since my last memoir. In my last remembrance, I mentioned that I would next like to describe the experience of the first broadcast studio of WPSC 590 AM. There was understandably a lot of excitement around actually doing some live broadcasting instead of just working with only tape recorded shows.

After WPSC was given the use of the "Little Theatre" in the Campus School, work began on converting an empty stage area into a broadcast studio. Not enough can be said for the efforts of everyone involved in the engineering and construction of the new facility. Along with a new home-built control panel, a working "On The Air" light (we didn’t have any sound-proof rooms, so this helped control the background noise from visitors, etc.), turntable installations, and a couple of 8-Track players, etc. we needed a constant source of records and new music to maintain a viable broadcast schedule. We had a rack along one wall that was to house our music library, but with DJs normally bringing in their own music, it was pretty bare for a while. They understandably didn’t want to leave their private record collection vulnerable and in the open.

As Program Director at that time, I managed to contact a record distributor who agreed to send us demo copies of all new album releases, and these began to arrive on a regular basis, much to our delight. Some of the albums were from artists that were not well known and our commitment to the supplier was that we would give them as much air time as possible along with the popular groups, broadcasting the names of the groups and the song being played so as to increase their sales potential for the recording companies. So wow! We were off to a great start.

While using one turntable for the recording being played, the DJ would take the album containing his next song to be played… flip his earphone monitor to ‘cueing mode’ and after putting the phonograph needle in the space before the required song, he would manually spin the record until the first sounds of the song were heard, then spin the turntable ¼ turn back. With that done, when he was ready to play the song, it would start playing immediately when power was transferred to the turntable. 8-Track tapes required the proper track to be selected- quite a bit different than the digital world of today! The DJ had to coordinate between his talking and cueing, possible news items needing his attention, listener’s telephone requests and whatever else was appropriate for the show avoiding "dead-air" at all costs. In general, we didn’t have the luxury of having a broadcast engineer to help with all of this, although I personally did enlist the help of someone to do some sound effects during my shows. As an example, while playing my theme song (I often used "Shot-Gun" by Junior Walker and the All-Stars) I might say "Welcome to Joe Nicolosi show on WPSC Radio 590" (and then the engineer might play a sound effect of a garbage truck, a toilet flushing, or whatever…. ) I never knew what to expect which made it even better and more fun! I loved it!

During the night we would simulcast WPLJ or WNEW since we wanted to be able to broadcast 24 hours. We had a lot of fun. I am proud to have been one of the original staff members of WPSC and I am also very proud of what it has become. Thank you for letting me comment on the early days, and I wish everyone the very best. Maybe someday I will be able to come to New Jersey and visit.

-Joe Nicolosi

Updated:  Friday, April 27, 2018
Page By:  Joe Nicolosi