By Maria Monica Abrenica
“I was always told, like most kids I know, to do whatever I wanted to do,” said Alex Cole.
For nearly two years, Cole has been serving the Rutgers community of New Brunswick through his volunteer work at 88.7 WRSU-FM (New Brunswick, New Jersey, New Music). He became part of the student-run station during his freshman year in the fall of 2006 and started in the News Department. As of today, Cole produces and hosts “Oh, The Shenanigans,” a music program that broadcasts from two to four on Tuesday afternoons.
Cole was born in Monmouth County, New Jersey on August 3, 1988 and was raised in Keasbey, N.J. He is currently residing in Menlo Park Terrace, which is part of Metuchen. He was raised by his father, Brian Cole, who has always been into computers and by his mother, Carol Cole, who works in the legal department of the gasoline company, Hess.
When asked how he got involved in radio work, Cole responds in a manner reminiscent of his childhood and says that his parents and the environment he grew up in had a lot do with it. “For the majority of my life, I wanted to follow in my dad’s footsteps,” he said. Cole recalls that he felt fairly privileged in having access to the latest technological gadgets due to his father’s line of work. His face lights up as he recollects how his parents were instrumental figures in the process of radio influencing his early years. “When in my mother’s car, the news would be on. With my father, it was always 89.5 FM WSOU, the metal radio station of New Jersey.” While the fascination he had for technology kept growing, the “future of a nine-to-five job in a cubicle,” as Cole describes it, wasn’t something he found appealing. Since he already had the love for music and attentiveness to what was going on in the world, Cole decided to look into radio when he entered Rutgers. He simply hoped then that it would make an interesting extra-curricular activity, but it only took about two weeks from his first time on air before he realized that a career in radio is what he wants to pursue.
Cole’s flexibility as a broadcast journalist is reflected in the way he puts time and effort into volunteering at WRSU. He describes the nature of work involved in both news writing and broadcasting and in music program production. For news, the inspiration for most stories are taken from the Associated Press wire and are carefully covered by the writers and reporters in their own words. The university portal, https://my.rutgers.edu, is also a source for news, but entirely original stories are more than welcome. Cole says that a ten-to-fifteen minute broadcast requires a minimum of an hour and a half of preparatory work, but “of course, original stories require more prep-work and are usually pieces that have taken anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to complete.” The 20-year-old radio enthusiast is now in his fifth semester at Rutgers pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Media Studies and a minor in Criminology. He is also an active brother of the Alpha Phi Sigma fraternity.
The music show that Cole produces and hosts is a lot easier for him to prepare for, but he also says that its flow varies from one DJ to another. Usually, three songs are played in succession and then a microphone break comes. “I pretty much play whatever music I want then I’ll come on mic and talk for a bit with my co-hosts about the songs and about anything we deem necessary at the time.” Zach Huff, an English Major in his junior year at Rutgers in Newark, and Danny Mullins, a junior majoring in Journalism and Media Studies at Rutgers New Brunswick, host the music show with Cole.
As of today, Cole is not involved with WRSU’s News Department, but says that he will definitely get back into it soon. It is his music program today that he is most passionate about because it not only communicates who he is, but broadcasts the power to share a creative outlet with his listeners. “It’s a great feeling. It’s an even greater feeling to know that people are listening and requesting songs. Who knows? Maybe a person was having a really tough day and you played a song that makes them feel better.”