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Happy 70th WRSU!!!

WRSU’s 1960s logo, at 680 on your AM dial.

Happy 70th Birthday, WRSU!

April 26, 1948.  That’s when WRSU signed on the air at 630 AM, heard only in the dorms at Rutgers College and what later became known as Douglass College.

Our celebration continues Thursday night at 7 pm.  Harvey Nagler (’66) joins us on the air to talk about how WRSU launched a stellar career as one of the top broadcast executives in the country.  Nagler retired in January of 2017 as the Vice President of Radio at CBS News.

Nagler will be followed by Alumni Knightline at 8 pm, hosted by Mike Pavlichko (’00) and Dom Savino (’18) as they bring on sports alums like Drew Weisholtz (’97), Todd Cohen (’98), Max Scheiner (’09) Jason Goldstein (’12) and Mike Rivera (’15).

Technical engineer Matthew Zuck at the controls getting set to sign on, April 26, 1948

Saturday night, more than 100 alumni and current staff members kicked off the week-long celebration with an invitation-only 70th Anniversary Banquet.  Alums ranging from the ’50s to the 2010s were on hand to share stories of their times on WRSU, complete with memorabilia including one of our first “FM” consoles installed in the late ’60s.

It wraps up with more alumni DJs on Saturday, April 28th – Rutgers Day – including our annual live concert from Bishop Beach on College Avenue from 11 am to 4 pm featuring Double Negatives, Cold Weather Company, 81 Rich, Deal Casino and Offkey Lifestyle.  At 4 pm, it’ll be Chris Trapani (’85) spinning classic tunes, followed by Mike Maron (’83) at 5, and Tim Korzun (’86) from 6-7 pm.


The Governors Ball Music Festival – Ticket Giveaway – WRSU 88.7FM

Hey Rutgers students! WRSU is giving away six sets of tickets to The Governors Ball Music Festival in New York City, for June 1-3, 2018! Winners will receive one pair of 1-day passes. Find out how you can enter to win: Continue reading »

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WRSU Fundraiser Hits Milestone

WRSU’s 70th Anniversary Fundraiser – going on all year as we celebrate 70 years of student-run radio serving Rutgers University – has hit its first milestone!  With a goal of raising $70,000 for the 70th, the campaign has just eclipsed the 10% mark.  The current total is up to $6,156.10, and rising!

If you enjoy what you hear on WRSU, and want to support to next generation of broadcasters with the most state-of-the art technology with which they can learn their craft, please consider a donation by clicking here.  We’ll reward you with a retro tee-shirt, sweatshirt, or tote, and maybe even a guest DJ spot or a co-hosting gig on Knightline next fall!


Jackie Daytona Interview

 

On May 1st, 2018, WRSU’s Bri Born interviewed Jackie Daytona, the bassist/vocalist behind the debut album, She’s So Hot. The duo behind the record includes Jackie and his longtime creative partner & drummer, Justin Robinson. During the interview, Jackie discussed everything from the recording process, to his plans for the future and favorite books.

You can check out the interview and more content from Jackie Daytona below.
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WRSU’s Interview with Three Date Theory

Not only does the pop-punk band, Three Date Theory, come from New Jersey, but one of them actually went to Rutgers! That member is their drummer, Matt, who was also able to stop by at the station for a little while on April 30th, 2018. During the interview, we covered everything from the band’s origins, to new music, to the addition of their newest member, Jordan. You can listen to the interview, hosted by WRSU’s Bri Born, below.

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“Weird Al” Concert Review

If someone in 1988 had been asked the question “which of the following things would be thriving in the year 2018: newspapers, the recording industry, the Soviet Union—or “Weird Al” Yankovic”, which seems the least likely? Comedian and opener Emo Phillips posed the following question to the packed room of the Apollo Theatre on March 23rd to thunderous applause and laughter. The irony was not lost on the audience. Indeed, searching through the faces on what was the second night of “Weird Al’s” two night stint at the Apollo, no clear demographic seemed to be defined. Children as young as five sat next to fifty year old men and thirty two year old women alike. Similarly, a 19 year old college student thunderously hollered and screamed, despite a sore throat, as “Weird Al” finally graced the stage at 9:00 that night.  

“Weird Al” Yankovic is an anomaly of pop culture. A fluke comedy single for him in 1984, bloomed into platinum album after platinum album, grammys galore, a feature length film, an illustrious voice acting career, and ubiquity as the parody king of America. Indeed, while all other 80s juggernauts have fizzled with age or struggled to maintain a footing in the minds of a new generation, “Weird Al” has only been on the rise since his burst into the mainstream 34 years ago. A lesser artist would use this unprecedented longevity to push new material down the throats of their audience or to bask in the success of their previously established hits. “Weird Al” is not one of these artists however.

Spanning 21 songs, “Weird Al’s” set at the Apollo contained 1, count it, 1, singular parody. This is no mistake. After all, Al is weird, not crazy. From the get go, “Weird Al” had gleefully announced that the tour would be a no frills occasion for die hard fans. A “Ridiculously Self-Indulgent, Ill-Advised Vanity Tour”, if you will. As such, the concert was as much a celebration of every fans youthful penchant for Al’s brand of comedy, as it was a grand recognition of “Weird Al’s” B side songwriting craft. This is fitting, as Al’s abilities as a “proper musician” are often overlooked. In addition to being a witty and wholesome jester of pop culture, “Weird Al” is also a blisteringly funny and stylistic entertainer.

Nowhere was this better demonstrated than in the first song of the evening, “Dare to be Stupid.” Originally written about, what else, acting like an idiot despite conventional wisdom, Al somehow made his song fresher and funnier 22 years later via one tweak. Rather than performing the song in its original DEVO-esque style, “Weird Al” wholly changed the tone by singing it as a Grateful Dead tribute. For fans who had heard the song thousands of times as an 80s drenched synth pop tune, the change was hilarious, while those who had never heard the song before were still treated to a musically complex and melodious comedic experience. This balance of in-joke based, yet serious musicianship continued without interruption throughout the night.

From “Dare to Be Stupid”, “Weird Al” delved into virtually unknown deeper cuts such as “Mr. Popeil” and “Nature Trail to Hell”, as well as breaking for the occasional “drum solo.” These 30 second diversions set up expectations of grand displays of skill, yet always came down to a singular hit of a cymbal or the tap of a drum head. The bit never got old. This is not to say that “Weird Al’s” band was devoid of talent. In fact, Al’s instrumental partners in crime proved to be some of the most versatile musicians I’ve ever had the pleasure of hearing. It comes at no surprise then, that I would later learn that the men playing drums, bass, guitar, and piano that night were the same people that had played drums, bass, guitar, and piano with Al for decades. The result was a symbiotic musical partnership. Al would riff and improvise, and the band would seamlessly adapt with him.

One of my favorite “Weird Al” songs, “Albuquerque” proved this point without a doubt. A sprawling 12 minute epic, “Albuquerque”, details the story of a man who wins a competition to stay at “the world famous, Albuquerque Holiday Inn (where the towels are oh so fluffy)” and the various mishaps and misfortunes that occur along the way. At one famous diversion, the central character asks a doughnut shop worker if his shop has blueberry doughnuts, raspberry doughnuts, etc.. to which the clerk responds “no, were all out of X.” In the studio recording, 6 pastries are asked for and denied. In concert, 14 were. Despite these new lyrics and impromptu responses, the band still managed to complement Al’s increasing absurdity with background solos, amusing embellishments, and a steady beat throughout.

 

Albuquerque” ala 14 pastries

 

It is a true testament to Al’s love for his audience and music that he performs, without a stutter or a hint of exhaustion, such songs. “Weird Al” is is as much invested in every part of his setlist as his fans are. No song is for artist or consumer alone. This dual sided passion energized my entire concert experience and made me feel as if I was a part of an inter-generational community. Although I may not have the excitement that pairs with the discovery of “Weird Al” that an 8 year old has, or the decades informed nostalgia of a 42 year old, I believe that I, as well as every person in the audience on March 23rd, shared an unforgettable night of the universal language… laughter.

Rating: 10/10

 

By Bennett Rosner

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Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s Ruban Nielson Still Sounds Lost

Check out Jordan Levy’s review of UMO’s fourth album Sex & Food. Continue reading »

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WRSU’S Bri Born Interviews Echosmith

Last week, WRSU had the chance to interview Sydney Sierota of Echosmith to discuss the band’s current tour, the family-band dynamic, and the upcoming album.

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“Rob’s Rumble” benefit to honor WRSU Alum Robert Sunga on April 13th

WRSU alum Rob Sunga and fellow station members broadcast from Rutgers University’s Dance Marathon in the College Avenue Gym.

St. Peter’s Prep High School in Jersey City will host a charity concert called “Rob’s Rumble” on April 13th, in honor of WRSU alum Robert Sunga (’05).  The event will be a fundraiser for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, which exists to find cures and ensure access to treatments for blood cancer patients.  It will also benefit the music program at St. Peter’s Prep, Rob’s high school alma mater.  Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Ari Hest will headline the show, which will also feature local bands like P@atomic and the Bomb, Rated R, and Sea of Otters.

In the mid-2000s, Sunga was diagnosed with Stage 4 Burkitt’s lymphoma.  Though he overcame it, Rob passed away in December 2016 after ten years of neurological degeneration, a side-effect of the intense chemotherapy he had received.  The fundraiser reflects Rob’s unsurpassed passion for music and unequaled generosity of spirit.

Click here for more on Rob’s Rumble.

Below, listen to Jeff Wertz’s interview with Rob’s friends and fundraiser organizers Julie Cornell (WRSU ’04), Alex Lamon, and Rob’s brother, Michael:


WRSU’S Bri Born Interviews The Wrecks

 

On March 23rd, 2018, two members of the LA based indie rock band, The Wrecks, sat down for an interview with WRSU Rutgers Radio. The band was playing the Theatre of Living Arts in Philly that night. We discussed their new EP, Panic Vertigo, “Lost in Translation Tour” antics, and their favorite fast food joint.
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