WXVU Villanova Radio soars with record student participation



Kristina Sumfleth

WXVU Villanova Radio has reached a new record, with 75 active DJs and shows this semester. This new record is a result of an increase in sign-ups during the fall semester Activities Fair and an eagerness of executive board members to recruit students passionate about music. 

“At the activities fair we had a ton of kids sign up,” Matteo Petrera, WXVU Radio General Manager, said. “Usually we get about ten, then this year about 110 signed up. It’s definitely out of the ordinary. I talked to a lot of people who used to do radio and they never had that many people.”

WXVU Radio is a student run organization formed in 1947 that broadcasts shows every day of the week from the radio station in Dougherty Hall, both online and on 89.1 FM. After nearly five decades of operating on a carrier current, which could only be heard in selected buildings on campus, the station officially went on air in 1991.

In 1992 new studios were constructed in Doughtery Hall, which WXVU now call home. Space on the FM dial is limited, so Villanova shares the frequency with Cabrini College of Radnor.

There are currently 47 shows hosted by students falling under eight different categories, including Hip Hop, Country, Jazz, Sports/Talk, Electronica, Rock/Metal, Radio 200 and Other. 

According to Petrera, WXVU has never filled an entire day’s schedule with shows. This semester both Tuesday and Thursday’s schedules are full, and an additional 21 DJ’s were added throughout the fall semester to the previous 59 members of WXVU. 

In addition to the interest displayed at the Fall Activities Fair, Petrera, who has been a part of WXVU for the past four years, attributes the influx in WXVU radio shows to the contributions and enthusiasm of the 12 member executive board of the radio station.

“I just think that the past few years people didn’t really know about it and the exec board was not really recruiting new people,” Petrera said. “I started really working to get a good exec board in here and we’ve got a good crew. We want to continue to have kids that want radio to be their thing and be dedicated to it, and it’s until we hit that point that we will be a presence on campus.” 

New members of WXVU interested in hosting a show are paired with executive board members for training. The radio interns next attend the board member’s show four times to learn the rules of the radio and how to utilize the equipment. The final day of the internship requires participants to incorporate some of their own material into the show, according to Petrera. 

Despite the majority under-classmen attendance at the Fall Activities Fair, new members of WXVU are not solelly comprised of freshmen. According to Programming Director Thomas DiFazio, there was a high concentration of juniors who joined in the fall, alongside freshmen, graduate students and even a professor. 

Juniors Julia Tich and Emerald McGrath joined just last semester, after learning about WXVU Radio from a friend. Both were interns on the third longest running show, “The Power Hour and Half,” hosted by seniors DiFazio and Brian Polk. Now, Tich and McGrath co-host the show “Jules and Gem” at 8:30 on Sunday nights.

“I love it, I listen to so many new artists looking for things to play on the radio,” Tich said.

“I like being on a talk show with my best friend and getting to play fun songs,” McGrath said. “If there is someone who has a passion for music or likes to talk about subjects that interest them it’s a great opportunity to have a space to talk about what interests you. So if anyone feels strongly, they should do it.” 

Many of the students who join WXVU Radio typically host shows for multiple semesters, according to DiFazio. Petrera and Maddie Wackerman’s “Sync or Swim” is the longest running show and has been broadcasting for seven semesters. Sports talk show “The Four Man Weave,” hosted by Jimmy Tuite, Chris Kotwicki, Greg Habeeb and Matt Sheridan and Nic Paz Lopez’s “Tea Time” have been broadcasting for six semesters.

“Some people do it to communicate and express themselves in a way they haven’t been able to before, some do it because they’ve never done it before and others do it to learn more about themselves,” DiFazio said. “Some people find fulfillment in it I’m sure, and probably because they have fun with it and find out they really enjoy radio.” 

Sophomore Tina Hong joined WXVU Radio after meeting Petrera in a class, and interning on his show “Sync or Swim.” Despite her love of music, Hong did not get involved until her sophomore year because she mistook WXVU to be a part of Villanova’s Tech Crew at the Activities Fair. Hong now hosts “Birds N’ Beez,” previously known as “Scrambled Eggs,” on Saturday nights from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. 

“I really love music and really want to show it even if no one is listening,” Hong said. “I just find joy in spreading happiness to other people. I really found myself through music and that’s a reason I’m so involved in it all. Music is really powerful, I’m a strong believer in music.”

Throughout the year WXVU Radio also broadcasts during various events on campus. The largest broadcast takes place during freshmen Orientation. Weather contingent, WXVU also has “Happy Fridays” playing music by the Oreo. This year the radio station also paired with Special Olympics to interview various visiting athletes. 

In addition to tuning in, WXVU is accessible via Tumblr, where several hosts contribute to a blog about latest music news. Posts include festival and album reviews and playlists.