Music Selection Guidelines Review Findings

In the Fall semester of 2019, Dean Deirdre Yates, Dean of the College of Communication and the Arts, convened a WSOU-FM Music Selection Guidelines Task Force with the purpose of reviewing and evaluating the current Music Selection Guidelines for WSOU-FM. The Task Force, guided by the University's Catholic mission, focused on safeguarding the music vetting process to ensure that the station's policies are robust and comprehensive and to make any appropriate updates, amendments or additions that could better serve the Catholic mission of Seton Hall University and the educational experience of our students.

The Task Force involved campus-wide participation including: an appointed representative from Seton Hall's Office of Mission and Ministry; Dean, faculty and graduate assistant from the College of Communication and the Arts; WSOU-FM alumni and industry professionals; members of the WSOU-FM Advisory Board; WSOU-FM General Manager; WSOU-FM Professional Staff; and WSOU-FM Student Management Board. The Task Force submitted an initial draft report to the Office of the Provost on November 19, 2019. An updated version was sent on March 17, 2020.

The findings confirm the station's comprehensive understanding and strict adherence to all FCC regulations, University regulations, the Catholic Principles That Guide WSOU-FM, as well as the Music Selection Guidelines developed in consultation with Mission and Ministry during the 2009-10 and 2010-11 academic years.

A comparative analysis of five varying Catholic college/universities with radio stations proved that WSOU-FM maintains, and implements, the most advanced guidelines. This analysis also demonstrated that WSOU-FM's review process for adding songs to its music library is more rigorous than the other five Catholic institution's radio stations.

One significant change to the guidelines was an expansion of the Catholic Principles component which now clearly articulates the three basic Catholic principles that guide WSOU-FM:

  • the love of God,
  • the dignity of every human person, and
  • the commitment of WSOU-FM to be a peacemaker in our community

The promise to follow these principles prompted the addition of a Catholic Perspectives and Perception Training initiative. The need for such training was introduced by Mission and Ministry and reinforced by industry professionals. An implementation process for the perception training was included.

The full Task Force report also includes WSOU-FM's mission, vision, core values, reporting and governance structure, accomplishments and awards, music selection historical background, FCC regulations and University regulations.

The findings of the Task Force confirm WSOU-FM's commitment and dedication to the University, the Catholic mission, and our students and demonstrates why the station has won the prestigious Marconi and Peabody awards, earned the status of "heritage radio station," and has an alumni base of 4,000 with some of the most successful professionals in the broadcasting industry.

Seton Hall University's WSOU 89.5 FM was founded as a hands-on experiential-learning radio station. Launched on April 14, 1948, the station has always placed a premium on promoting student success and preprofessional development. An emphasis on student management, coupled with an ethos of student accountability, is a major factor in WSOU-FM's decades-long national reputation for excellence and why the station has produced thousands of highly successful alumni.

As part of its "learn by doing" mission, WSOU-FM strives to emulate "the real world" to prepare students for careers not just in broadcasting, but in any field they may choose. Understanding how to properly implement policies and procedures is essential for success in any workplace. In the realm of on-air programming, the station follows FCC regulations and University guidelines. All music heard on WSOU-FM is carefully screened for content to ensure that lyrics do not undermine the mission and values of Seton Hall University or violate FCC rules. As all radio stations do, songs in the WSOU-FM music library are edited to remove language in conflict FCC regulations regarding indecency and obscenity. Unlike most other radio stations, WSOU-FM goes a step further to also remove lyrics that go against the Catholic principles that guide station programming. As a result of this two-step content review process, even though it sounds loud and heavy, the music heard on WSOU is some of the "cleanest" in broadcasting.

More information: Principles That Guide WSOU Programming