SRU to induct former broadcasters into inaugural radio HOF
June 15, 2016
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Thirty-five years ago, MTV aired its first music video that proclaimed, "video killed the radio star."
While that may not necessarily have been the case when the now infamous video music channel launched, the growing number of music streaming services available today might certainly lead one to think that terrestrial radio is indeed dying on the vine.
But according to a recent article in Forbes magazine, nothing could be farther from the truth. Radio is still a hugely popular medium in America, reaching 59 percent of the country's population every day. In fact, the second quarter of 2015 saw the highest number of people tuning in to radio ever.
That kind of news is surely music to the ears of everyone involved with WSRU 88.1 FM, the student-run radio station at Slippery Rock University.
The station, now in its 54th year, will commemorate its melodic past when it inducts its inaugural class into the SRU Radio Hall of Fame Oct. 21 as part of Homecoming weekend.
The HOF is the brainchild of James Aronson, SRU Radio alumni chairman, who in 2012 called former station employees together to commemorate the station's then 50th year on the air. The anniversary event was simply intended to mark a historic past for the University and station, but Aronson was inspired by the many success stories of the returning graduates. That night, he began constructing a plan that would honor those past achievements the station alums had shared.
Four years later, his initiative will recognize nine former students and two former professors for their accomplishments in the world of radio and television broadcasting. Inductees were selected over a three-month nomination period and online voting process.
- Jeff Brown, professor of broadcasting and audio at Penn State and morning personality 93.7 FM;
- Chris Coulter, WSRU's first female program director and program director and on-air talent at WEAT, Palm Beach, Florida;
- Chris (Kaye) Krupinski, former general manager of WRCK/WRSK and host at WYRK, Buffalo, New York;
- Mike McHugh, former SRU professor and founder of the SRU chapter of the National Broadcasting Society, Alpha Epsilon Rho;
- Paul Paterra, editor of the Scottsdale Independent-Observer and member of West Penn Media;
- Mark "Razz" Radziewicz, former program director and general manager of WSRU and current on-air personality at 92.5 XTU, Philadelphia.
- John Rozzi, former general manager of WRCK and current program director at WARO/WXNX in Fort Myers, Florida;
- Bruce Russell, retired SRU professor emeritus and sponsor of the Bruce W. Russell Scholarship for broadcasting and journalism students;
- Tracy Wilson, former WSRU talent and former writer for the television show, "Haven;" and Emmy award winner for Best Live Special Event Program (Special Olympics World Games);
- Elliott Wood, former WSRU talent and senior vice president for domestic operations at the former Clear Channel Radio; and
- Joe Yesh, former WRCK general manager and current news director at WKBN/WYTV, Youngstown, Ohio
"WSRU is where I saw my whole career open up before me," said Radziewicz, a 1985 SRU graduate with a bachelor's degree in communications and 2016 "Major Market Personality of the Year" nominee. "It is where I stopped reading a script, and learned how to express myself on radio. Coming back to where it all started means the world to me."
For many of the inductees, the HOF honor will add to an already impressive list of recognitions and accolades as the class includes a Country Music Association Award nominee and Emmy Award winner. Despite these lofty commendations, one inductee insists that the attention the group is earning from its alma mater is a distinction they will not soon forget.
Wilson, a 1985 SRU graduate, is looking forward to returning to the place that served as a launching pad for her life.
"It feels like we have come full circle," she said. "This honor has brought those of us who scattered into our own lives and careers back together to recall the foundation that SRU offered us."
Yesh believes that the HOF gathering will be more than just a homecoming. "To me, the hall is an extension of old names and faces of the University to the new generation of communicators," he said. "We want to be contacts and references for the students as well as avenues to real life experience."
To help facilitate this, the inductees will host a question and answer session with current communications students as part of the weekend's festivities. "It will be a great chance for current students to pick the brains of those alums who went on to build very successful careers themselves," said Aronson.
In addition to the HOF inductions, a pair of SRU alumni will be presented with lifetime achievement awards.
Jim Wentz, whose engineering skills helped get the University's radio stations on the air in 1962, will be presented with the 2016 Legends Award; while the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Werner Ullrich, SRU Radio chief engineer for more than 30 years.
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