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WUSB-FM Family Celebrates and Reflects on 45 Years on the Air

Wusb concert 4
Wusb concert 4
All of the performers at the WUSB anniversary concert took to the stage together for the finale. Photos courtesy of Eric Fieldstadt

On June 27, WUSB 90.1 FM and 107.3 FM celebrated 45 years of continuous non-commercial college radio broadcast service. The anniversary day featured special programming that included a replay of WUSB FM’s maiden broadcast, which aired at 5:30 pm on June 27, 1977. Music and news from 1977 were featured throughout the day.

A week of special events culminated with an all-star concert at the Staller Center on June 29 featuring local musicians who have been supported by WUSB. The show included Randy Jackson of the rock band Zebra, singer Mary Lamont — who is also a DJ at the station — Buddy Merriam and bands like Miles to Dayton. They played a mix of covers and original works, supported by a house band that included Blue Oyster Cult members Danny Miranda and Jules Radino, along with Ahmad Ali, Bill Lifford, Mario Staiano and Mark Carpentieri.

Since WUSB’s initial sign-on, more than 2,000 campus and community volunteers have served as staff members. Thousands of nationally acclaimed artists, musicians, newsmakers, public figures and educators have participated in live broadcasts and more than 30,000 public service announcements have been aired. Through the decades, scores of listeners have enjoyed quality, commercial-free, thought-provoking, inspired and creative radio programs.

WUSB provides the Long Island community a forum for eclectic and innovative programming featuring music, community affairs and events, campus and local news, collegiate and national sports, and other student and community-oriented programming. The station also provides hands-on experience for students and has led to employment opportunities in a variety of public relations, communications, media, music and journalism careers.

 

“Having had the extraordinary opportunity of leading an enthusiastic group of campus community members in getting the station on the air in 1977 and then serving as GM from 1977 to 2006, each passing anniversary reminds me of how important it is to have a radio station that is committed to serving the programming needs of our diverse listening university and Long Island communities,” said Norm Prusslin, WUSB faculty advisor and a member of the Department of Theatre Arts. “I congratulate all past and present station staff on your dedicated commitment, professionalism and passion for the radio medium.”

The following are reflections from some of the station’s family, new and old, and others who participated in the celebration.

Isobel Breheny-Schafer, general manager of WUSB

“I am proud to be the general manager of WUSB-FM Stony Brook for the past 16 years and a part of the radio station staff for more than 20 years. As it celebrates 45 years, WUSB remains a vibrant part of the local music community and an important resource for education, information and public service announcements. Thanks to all of WUSB’s supporters, including Stony Brook University administration and the Staller Center, our local government representatives, all of our volunteers, DJs and musicians and WUSB’s entire listening community. I can’t wait for the 50th anniversary celebrations in five years.”

Jim Wiener, 53 years with WUSB, the station’s longest-serving volunteer

“I first became involved with WUSB when it was a low-power AM station in 1969 after seeing a notice in The Statesman looking for students to announce newscasts on the station. The experience proved very interesting as did further involvement entailing musical programming, and recording and editing of various material. It’s been both a privilege and pleasure over the years to have the opportunity and freedom to program various genres of music, and to be able to work with so many creative people who share the love of eclectic radio.”

Wiener still produces a monthly jazz program for WUSB.

Melanie Formosa ’23, Journalism major, WUSB Program Director and DJ

“WUSB has left an imprint on my life already — and my position as program director has just begun! The memories I’ve made during my time as a ‘WUSBee’ are priceless, and I can confidently say that my college experience would be a lot duller if I hadn’t found WUSB. I will be forever indebted to the station for the wonderful moments and dear relationships. I can’t wait for this upcoming year as program director.”

Buddy Merriam, professional musician and WUSB DJ since 1991

“I started listening to WUSB in the beginning and as a teen came to many great concerts at Stony Brook. I got into bluegrass in 1972 and it seemed WUSB always had a bluegrass show. I had been to the station many times as a guest on DJ Jim Ross’ program. When he retired in 1991, I stepped in. Bluegrass has given me a wonderful life, and I’m happy and proud to carry the ball for the last 31 years here at WUSB.”

Randy Jackson, singer/songwriter/guitarist for the band Zebra and a member of the Long Island Music Hall of Fame

“WUSB has been my neighborhood radio station for 35 years. I remember as far back as 1983 hearing Zebra on WUSB and getting a lot of support from the station whenever we put out a new album. It was a pleasure being part of the 45th anniversary, and I’m looking forward to 45 more.”

— Rob Emproto

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  • I was a SUNYSB student who graduated in 1976 and was involved in graduate study through 1978. While a full-time student, I also worked as one of the Student Union Building Managers and we kept the Student Union’s radio tuned to WUSB. A couple of my favorite DJ’s were Lister Hewn Lowe who called his show “Militant Reggae Rockers.” DJ Kurt Ward entertained with jazz and fusion recordings along with music insights and commentary. Tom Vitale gave intelligent commentaries on the arts, film and literature, as I recall. I still listen to Tom’s reports on WNYC radio and National Public Radio (NPR). Long live WUSB!

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