Christine Vitale

Radio Personality - WFDU-FM/89.1 and
Career Development Specialist - Career Development - Metropolitan Campus

201-692-2806; 201-692-6482

Interview questions from FDU Magazine, 2008:

With the rise in popularity of new technologies such as iPods, satellite radio and podcasts, why do you think FM radio has survived? FM radio for many years now, has proven its endurance as an effective medium to reach the public. Many decades ago, people thought the advent of television meant the end radio, and it didn’t happen. Surely some of these newer technologies have an impact on the numbers of people listening to FM radio, but don’t toll the bell yet, because unlike FM radio, the staying power of these new technologies is not proven. FM radio remains, for many, a convenient medium that goes where audiences go – it’s convenient, and it’s free. It is the like the little engine that could…and it does…and it will!

How long have you volunteered at WFDU?

Shortly after I first began working for the university in 1995 I approached the station with an idea for a program in the R&B/doo-wopp vocal group genre I know well. They weren’t too interested at that time, because they were satisfied with their programming, but they said I can be a newscaster if wanted. I said ok, although I had no particular desire to be a newscaster, however I did find it to be very empowering and a great confidence builder. Plus it helped to keep my voice and face in front of Carl Kraus and Barry Sheffield, because when the time came to consider a change in programming, they approached me, knowing my musical knowledge and interest. Hence, The Group Harmony Alley.

Why do you volunteer at WFDU?

Two reasons. First, I am a huge proponent of volunteerism, and do a lot of it. I believe in volunteering for where passion lies. I am extremely passionate about the cause of working to foster wider recognition for the R&B/doo-wopp, and its acceptance as a genuine urban street corner musical art form. I have been working for this cause for since 1988. WFDU provides an important medium to further serve this vocation.

What makes WFDU different than other radio stations?

For one thing, the variety of musical formats that serve a wide range of demographics. Most other radio stations, particularly in commercial radio, look to serve the interests of more limited segments of the public.

What are your favorite aspects of working at WFDU? There are many. The freedom of non-prescribed play lists, the support of station management. I am most grateful for the roll of the dice that WFDU station management took with the R&B/ doo-wopp format, and the faith they have in me to delivering it the way I believe it should be represented.

6) What are some of your proudest accomplishments from your involvement with WFDU?
I have worked with this rich musical heritage for nearly twenty years. I’ve had some great mentors, and have read and studied much in this field, and although I had been on radio in my past career, I am most proud of the long-term continuity of the success of The Group Harmony Alley on WFDU and how through it I have been able to increase and validate my credibility in a field, where I am a minority both by gender and generation.


7) How do you tailor your show to meet the public interest? Do you take a lot of requests (if so, how many each day?), change parts of the show to reflect current events, promote local artists, etc.?
Truthfully, I don’t focus on trying to meet public interest because to do that would undersell the significance of R&B/doo-wopp history. The public over time due to reasons to extensive to elaborate on here has come to demand relatively little from this musical genre that has so much to offer. I wanted to change that. I can say with a fair amount of confidence that my program has served to re-shape the public interest.

Anything else you’d like to say about WFDU to include in the article?

Yes tune in to the Group Harmony Alley with me, your girl, Christine Vitale! Sundays 6pm to 9pm** – EASTERN on 89.1/FM-WFDU Teaneck, NJ, and streaming live at www.wfdu.fm. It’s a foray into the real roots of the R&B/doo-wopp historical experience.

**NOTE: AS OF SEPTEMBER 18, 2010, THE GROUP HARMONY ALLEY IS HEARD AT 7PM TO 10PM EASTERN. IT IS ALSO ARCHIVED AT WWW.WFDU.FM AND WWW.DOOWOPTAXI.COM
 

Credentials, capsule biography:

Christine is a Career Development Specialist in Career Development. With even many more years of experience guiding university students, alumni and other individuals at all levels and varying educational and experiential backgrounds toward successful career paths, and/or career changes. Christine uses an instructional style to assist individuals in exploring career options, and with personal and professional issues that may impact one’s career. From teaching theory on resume writing, interviewing, networking and other career skills, Christine’s style of motivating and inspiring confidence moves individuals to action in making career decisions that are more informed and insightful. Christine has focused on guiding individuals toward specific career-building areas such as volunteerism/community service, entrepreneurship, careers in areas of multi-media, in scientific areas and industries in biology, chemistry, cosmetic science and environmental careers. Christine has also developed an interest in women empowerment causes, particularly in areas of science, and has spoken for student organizations such as the Omega Phi Chi and other sororities, and has been a mentor in guiding a group of female students hoping to gain approval to start up the Women Empowerment Organization on campus. Christine's versatility and experiences has garnered her respect and invitations for speaking engagements for various community organizations including public high schools and grade schools, local libraries and various fraternal service organizations, especially those that promote positive images for Italian Americans.

In the words of Christine: In April, 2010, I singlehandedly produced and funded my second major concert production a very delightful WFDU-FM concert on the university campus. It was an artistical masterpiece of an event, with many fine artists representing the various WFDU genres. It featured JOE BATAAN -- the King of Latin Soul -- and his band, CHOICE vs. QUIET STORM in a roaring acappella battle of Jersey City against Philadelphia, WFDU'S own, TONY SMITH & the CREW, and ANGEL RISSOFF & CHOICE. It was most certainly loved by those who attended, and the feedback from this nearly-full house was overwhelmingly positive. It was such a tremendously gratifying, empowering and liberating experience, and a wonderful feeling to see and experience the joy it brought to the hundreds of WFDU-FM supporters and other individuals who attended.

THE GROUP HARMONY ALLEY with CHRISTINE VITALE Sundays, 7PM to 10PM Eastern 89.1/FM -WFDU - Teaneck, NJ streaming live at www.wfdu.fm, and archived at www.doowoptaxi.com

I became interested in vocal groups of the 1950s when I discovered the Doo-Wopp Shop on WCBS-FM. Hungry for greater diversity and deeper insight into the roots of this music, I began reading everything I could find on it, developing and cultivating, and refining my taste.

SELF DEVELOPMENT:.. At about this time I became a member of, and by 1988, an employee of, the United In Group Harmony Association (UGHA), the unique nonprofit organization founded in 1976, by its late President, Ronnie Italiano (Ronnie I.), dedicated to the preservation, exposure and education primarily of rhythm & blues vocal group music from the 1940s, 1950s and early 1960s.

For years, under the tutelage of the late UGHA President Ronnie I., I studied this music and began to realize the multiple perspectives with which one could view the phenomenon of this largely-urban musical subculture, not only because of its diverse styles in harmony and overall sound, but also how the music as a whole related to the larger part of society in which it experienced its fashionable prime, and noticing its tremendous influence on musical styles that followed it. I found opportunities to teach seminars about the history of R&B/doo-wopp vocal group music to a variety of audiences: adults, young adolescents, teenagers and to striving acappella groups who wanted to capture the sound and essence of the era.

RADIO EXPERIENCE:..I served as co-host with Ronnie I. for a combined five years on UGHA’s educational trademark radio program, “Ronnie I’s R&B Party” on WNYE/91.5-FM public radio, and on commercial radio WNWK/105.9-FM, and the “Ronnie I Just For U” program. Eventually I became newscaster on WFDU/89.1FM, which ultimately led to my being awarded my own program, which I entitled The Group Harmony Alley.

In 2003, with CBS-FM having dropped its Doo-Wopp Shop, WFDU-FM rolled the dice and took a chance on the R&B/doo-wopp vocal group genre, with me at the helm. Its proven success bodes for its formidable place in the Sunday night vocal group tradition.

Read on, there's more!-----------

Christine is also a founding member and President of the Order Sons of Italy in America Tri Valley Lodge 2829 based in Bergenfield, NJ. Her many achievements include constributions toward raising funds for charitable causes and research for The Arthritis Foundation, Alzheimer's Disease, The Sanzari Cancer Wing at Hackensack University Medical Center and Veterans Memorial Park bocce court renovations. Christine has also spearheaded group volunteer OSIA projects for multi-ethnic local public school students. Christine also has collaborated with other Italian-American organizations to rally to keep the Italian language and culture at the forefront of academic programming in several public schools, and develop a more cohesive Italian-American community.

Publications, press mentions:

Christine has been featured in The Record, New York Daily News, Elmore Magazine, Twin-Boro News, Suburbanite, Cliffside Park Citizen, The Chronicle, Ridgefield Park Patriot, Clifton Journal, South Bergenite, Record Collectors Monthly, Inside FDU newsletter, FDU Magazine, The Equinox. I have also been featured on Bronxnet Television on "Open" and on "Doo-Wopp is Alive"


Short Abstract