First the Earth cooled, then the dinosaurs came...
In the mid 1970s, a group of students interested in radio gathered in a broom closet in the C Building of The College of Staten Island. They ran some wire to the cafeteria and started spinning records. These students worked with the College and applied for an FM license. They were granted a construction permit. Not much more progress was made until the late 1970s when a new group of students applied to the Student Government and Association for money to start construction. In 1980, a General Manager was hired to get the station on the air. It took a year to work out an agreement for an antenna site on Todt Hill (the tallest pont on the East Coast), install phone lines to the site for the transmitter, and to complete construction of the studios in the basement of E building on the Sunnyside campus.
On August 31, 1981, WSIA began regularly scheduled programming. It was the culmination of a tremendous amount of hard work by members of the College and students. Yet, it was only the beginning. Since that time, a great number of students have been trained to become staff members. Some have gone on to careers in radio. Others look back on WSIA as an important part of their student life.
For the next 12 years, WSIA-FM languished somewhat invisibly in the E-building basement below the cafeteria at the Sunnyside campus. Few people at the college even knew the E-building had a basement or that CSI had a radio station. However, many people from outside the immediate College community had come to realize just what WSIA was doing. With the format in place, WSIA began gaining a reputation for playing music that nobody else on the overcrowded New York radio dial was. The audience soon grew into other parts of the City, and then Northern New Jersey as well.
A number of changes have happened since 1981. The station's offices and studios have been enlarged and improved. Our operating budget has increased from $8,800 to $100,000 per year. In 1985, the College showed its commitment by picking up the salary of the General Manager. Previously, this had been paid out of student fees. The programming has also undergone a number of changes. Yet, students have always been committed to two things. One, to be new and innovative. The other, to serve the Staten Island community.
In 1993, The College of Staten Island moved its entire campus to a new, bigger, and better location, giving WSIA completely new state-of- the-art facilities. WSIA now uses brand new equipment making it one of the most technologically impressive radio stations in the entire country. From its fully digital signal to its 64 track recording studios, WSIA has become a staple for new, uncommercial music in the New York City area. WSIA is run by an all-student board of directors and also employs a full-time general manager and full-time Chief Engineer. It is licensed by the FCC and transmits to all of Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn, Manhattan and New Jersey. The station also introduces many local and unsigned bands. The new studios are equipped with the capacity to bring bands in the perform live on-the-air, which has been done successfully many times already. WSIA also has an eclectic music format, sports talk shows, news programming and public affair discussions. The Sports Department also brings the Staten Island community many local sporting events such as college basketball, and high school football.
Membership at WSIA is open to any student of The College of Staten Island, part-time or full-time. No previous experience is necessary. The studios are located in the Campus Center, right next to the Bookstore in Room 106. Just look for the big neon sign, and there we are!Finally, the WSIA studios are easy to spot!
Copyright © 2010, WSIA Staten Island 88.9 FM
Most recent revision January 14, 2010.