Lauren Piro

Late into the evening on the top floor of Dougherty Hall, someone’s playing the Dating Game. The scene is set, complete with the poppy melodies of the retro game show, three humbled (or humiliated) “bachelors” and one lucky lady looking for love – or in this case, a gift card for two to Dunkin’ Donuts. This game doesn’t have a stage with orange-flowered wallpaper, and the men on the auctioneer’s stand are far from being bedecked in powder blue leisure suits. Instead, they are unsuspecting trainees of Villanova’s student-run radio station WXVU 89.1 FM “The Spot,” thrown into the humorously twisted world of one of the most popular shows – Cool Court.

The brainchild of four juniors – Dave Derrot, Kevin Buge, Sal Colasurdo and Ryan Smart (all blessed with that booming, fit-for-radio voice) – Cool Court started a year and a half ago with just an inkling of the gut-busting repertoire it provides now.

“We started out with training wheels, and then it was baby steps from there,” Derrot says. Buge is quick to agree, adding that “it sounds significantly better

now than it did when we started.”

In fact, a lot has improved at the WXVU’s station these days, a far cry from what the station used to be not only 60 years ago when it first began, but even just three years ago, explains senior and General Manager Kevin Moran.

“I think the major issues that faced the station were both a complete lack of awareness on campus, as well as a morale issue among members,” Moran says. “When I walked in here my freshman year, everything looked like it was from the ’70s-every piece of equipment, every piece of furniture.”

Peering into the station now, it is clear that the ’70s have been left behind. Growing slowly, with a budget out of Student Development rather than the academic funding many other college stations enjoy, the studio is still small, but feels expansive.

WXVU is now complete with an ever-growing inventory of up-to-date technology, a fleshed-out music library and bright, new furniture in the station’s signature cherry red. Homage is paid to the past in the form of a wall of vinyl records impressive to many music


“A select few DJs still like to throw it back to days of vinyl,”

Moran says. “And actually some bands are still sending us vinyl.”

The college radio scene has always been defined as an outlet for up-and-comers in the music world, and WXVU is no exception. Each week the station is flooded with albums from new artists and promoters, cultivating a relationship with the station that Moran says is bittersweet.

While DJs get excited about the newest indie music-maybe the latest in loud rock or RPM-it is impossible for the station to play every track that slides under their microphones. The leftovers get sent to a free-CD bin near the Pit, with hopes that if greatness is discovered, someone will let WXVU know what it’s missing. The station’s new-and-improved identity has been created to thrive off this process.

“We’re becoming more defined as a source for new music,” Moran says. “All of these new bands kind of come out of nowhere and go through the college radio phase of their careers. We’ve been pushing DJs to be playing newer music as opposed to more throw-backs.”

Moran’s current favorites include TV on the Radio and Miniature Tigers-names alien to many mainstream

listeners, but “wildly contagious” to him. He broadcasts live two of his own shows-“Semistream” and the “Top 10 Show” with fellow executive board member Andrew Moriarty-all about the best in unheard sounds.

Still, WXVU upholds that it is a fun and creative outlet for students, and DJs have the privilege of playing or talking about what they love, as long as the content is up to par.

“There’s a sense of camaraderie now,” says Derrot, who is also WXVU’s programming director. “We’re trying to tie the shows together and push for a more consistent format, so when people turn to that dial, they know they can get a product that’s decent.”

Consistency certainly does not sacrifice flavor, however. Shows range from showcasing music of all genres to heated sports talk. The variability of the wacky topics discussed on Cool Court each week is a testament to the station’s creativity in itself. In addition to bits like the Dating Game or a table-slapping “Loser Leaves Town” match when Smart and Colasurdo were forced to suck on Warheads with each incorrect answer to a trivia question, these DJs also revel in commentating on news stories they find interesting or, more likely, just plain ridiculous.

“There was the guy who got his lucky leg chopped off,” Buge remembers.

“Or remember the time we saw a story that had to do with the personal ads on Craigslist,” Colasurdo asks.

The rest of the guys grimace and Buge calls it one of their “best-worst shows.”

“There are certain bits where we’re lucky that our show is on after 10:00 p.m.,” Derrot says.

“It’s edgy,” Colasurdo says. “We definitely push the line.”

And this line is in fact determined by the FCC. In its earliest years, WXVU was hard-wired to be on a closed circuit within only Villanova’s campus. Now, however, with FM broadcasting four days a week (the other days 89.1 FM is home to Radnor’s other collegiate station, Cabrini’s “The Burn”), the voices of WXVU can be heard within an 8-mile radius around the University. So Cool Court must watch its language, even if it airs during the hours of the night considered a “safe harbor” for a tad more lewdness.

The opportunity to learn from this and other technical aspects of the station adds to what members can gain from a WXVU experience. The station has made it a point to act on a professional level while still having radio-style fun, not only to incur respect from the University community, but also to give DJs the tools to perhaps someday continue to work in the radio biz, explains Moran.

Many WXVU-ers, including Moran himself, have earned internships at Philly radio stations, and some alumni now have full-time positions within the field. The station boasts a collection of their business cards.

Even with all of its recent strides, however, the gem that is WXVU often falls on deaf ears.

“It’s always been one of our biggest problems letting people actually know we have a station,” Moran says.

But they aren’t about to stop trying. WXVU has seen interest in membership boost over the past couple years, citing it as a positive reaction to their live, rooftop broadcast at Orientation move-in day each year.

“That essentially ensures almost every incoming freshman has exposure to the station even before they move in, which is amazing,” Moran says.

The station continues to reach out to the rest of the student body with appearances at service events such as the Special Olympics Fall Festival and Balloon Day. They host concerts and “Movies that Rock” screenings, and invite other student groups to plug their own initiatives on the air.

Outside of the Villanova bubble, WXVU is a member of the Philadelphia College Radio Collective, and podcasts and streams over the internet many of its shows-attracting at one point listeners from 13 international countries.

Cool Court has received particular exposure of interest. Its podcasts are available on iTunesU, and the show even runs in syndication on Temple University’s student radio station. In turn, a Temple show called Turkin’ Rock is then played on WXVU.

“It’s been really cool to see recognition and accolades,” Colasurdo says.

“Yeah, I don’t know where to put all the awards,” Buge jokes. “There’s nothing like when a student comes up to you and says ‘Hey, I know your voice.'”

The guys laugh at this, knowing that it’s worth it to them as long as they’re still having fun and can get their close friends to tune-in and talk-up the show.

WXVU is simply unrecognizable compared to the station it was only a few years ago. And now, even with improvements always in mind, they will strive to attract more of the student body with their newest of music, the most inventive of shows, and the highest level of professionalism. And whether you choose to tune in because of “bachelor” one, two, or three, WXVU knows that that Dating Game will result in a relationship you will not regret.