Seton Hall’s WSOU: Catholic university’s radio station cranks up heavy metal

Heavy metal fans in the Garden State may notice a lack of radio stations in the area that play their favorite music.
For over 30 years, there has been one place fans of the genre can turn when they want to rock out – Seton Hall University’s WSOU 89.5 FM radio station.
The 70-year-old student-run radio station has been playing the loudest heavy metal music since the mid-1980s.
“I’m a nice Jewish boy who runs a heavy metal radio station at a Catholic university. How great is that?” says WSOU faculty general manager Mark Maben.
Maben says that he was never a metal fan before coming to Seton Hall 13 years ago.
Some of the student DJs say that they also did not know much about the genre, but soon grew to love it.
“Before I knew maybe five or 10 heavy metal bands. Over the last four years, it’s become a very strong transformation,” says WSOU DJ Doug Woolever. “Now I go to shows, like once or twice a month. I listen to it a lot in my free time. It just took over.”
WSOU staff says that besides being a huge draw for the students, the station also fills in a niche market that is not greatly covered in the New York/New Jersey area. The WSOU signal reaches millions in New York City and northern New Jersey.
“This station has always been about pre-professional development and experiential learning. And what better way to learn than to have a consistent format that competes in the No. 1 market in the country?” asks Maben.
There was some friction with the school’s Catholic leaders about some of the darker music when the station first started playing it, but those concerns were later put to rest.
While the bulk of WSOU’s programing remains hard rock, the station also features a wide-variety of community programming, sports broadcasts, news and a long-running Sunday polka show.