WSBU buzzes over competition

A best-selling college campus guide ranks St. Bonaventure’s radio station as the nation’s best

By Tony Lee, editor in chief, @sHecKii

ST. BONAVENTURE (Aug. 6) — Shannon Shepherd bragged to her high school classmates she got accepted to the nation’s No. 1 college radio station.

If anyone thought she exaggerated, she could have picked up the 2007 Princeton Review’s “The Best 376 Colleges” and opened to the extracurricular rankings section to prove it.

Shepherd, now a senior, has seen the rankings drop to No. 2 in 2008 and 2009 and to No. 4 in 2010 in each of her three years being one of WSBU-FM 88.3 The Buzz’s board of directors.

In 2011, the journalism and mass communication major can again make the same statement she made in high school. According to Princeton Review’s 2011 rankings, St. Bonaventure University has become the nation’s No. 1 college radio station again.

“It is always in the back of your mind to rebuild the dynasty that came before us,” said Shepherd, WSBU’s sports director. “We had a very challenging year last year with different technical problems, but the board of directors, led by (senior) Kyle (Zappia), pulled together to make the station a gem again.”

Lee Coppola, dean of the Russell J. Jandoli School of Journalism and Mass Communication, said prospective students often tell him they visited St. Bonaventure because of WSBU’s reputation.  

Coppola added this ranking shines a spotlight on the hard-working WSBU staffers, who he said may be some of the most dedicated students he knows.

“Not only is their on-air work excellent, it’s what they do in recruiting, marketing and activities that benefit the community that impresses me the most,” he said.

WSBU staffers have impressed themselves, too. 

“I know I couldn’t be happier,” said Levi Trimble, WSBU’s public relations director. “We are proud to call ourselves the best.”

The senior journalism and mass communication major added this was a team effort — a view programming director Jess Rehac echoed. 

“There are so many people who put their time and energy into making sure that WSBU is running smoothly every day,” said Rehac, a junior education major, “and being able to watch all of those people celebrate the fact that their hard work put us in the No. 1 spot in the country is really amazing.”

The Princeton Review ranking are based on an 80-question survey sent to more than 122,000 students nationwide covering topics such as social life, fellow students, campus and community, according to

WSBU, founded in 1948, broadcasts 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It can be streamed online at or on 88.7 88.3 FM.

“We were honored by being nominated and making the top 10 in the MTVu Woodie Awards (click here to read about it), but this recognition from the Princeton Review is truly the icing and the cherry on the cake,” Shepherd said.

Correction (Aug. 8): Twitter user its_me_spence notified The Intrepid of typing WSBU broadcasts on 88.3, not 88.7, FM.

Correction (Aug. 10): Levi Trimble’s last name is Trimble, not Tremble

SBU-TV Sports nominated for award

By Maddie Gionet, features editor

ST. BONAVENTURE (June 2) – With 1.6 seconds left on the clock, Michael Davenport shoots and sinks a 3-pointer for the Bonnies. 

After a failed Hail Mary, the crowd stormed the court since St. Bonaventure just defeated the then undefeated-in-the-Atlantic-10-Conference Duquesne, 64-62, on February 5.

While the students ran amuck, SBU-TV Sports and its crew calmly continued on its broadcast, which included various shots of the court storming and an on-court interview with head coach Mark Schmidt. 

The crew could not celebrate with fellow classmates then, but SBU-TV Sports crew may now celebrate with themselves this summer after earning a nomination for a 2011 College Sports Media Award. 

“It all comes down to the preparation in the truck, and the knowledge every crew member (student) had accrued so that they snapped to their shots, got replays and updated graphics as a smooth team,” said Paul Wieland, director in the production truck.

Wieland, a lecturer of journalism and mass communication, said the crew handled the high-pressure situation well.

Shannon Shepherd, the sideline reporter at the game, said she was only supposed to get an interview with assistant coach Dave Moore but ended up getting an interview with Schmidt after the win. 

“As the game came to an end, I was so anxious,” said Shepherd, a senior journalism and mass communication major. “All I remember was pulling Dallas Miller aside at the last time out and saying I had to get Schmidt if we won the game. I had questions prepared in my mind if we won. I knew that they were the number one team in the A-10 so I asked about that.”

Dallas Miller, the Bonnies’ sports information director, said after Schmidt shook hands with the opposing team, he grabbed the coach and brought him to Shepherd.

“It was a really good interview and a good clip,” Miller said. “The clip really captured not only the game but how much fun The Reilly Center can be when the Bonnies are playing a good game.”

Miller, who didn’t know the award was given out, said SBU-TV Sports is worthy of the nomination. He said the nomination is well deserved and it’s great recognition to the university and everyone who helped put the clip together.

Miller said the clip has already been used to recruit players to the men’s basketball team.

“Instead of just telling recruits about what it’s like to play in the RC, we can say, ‘You want to see what it’s like to play in the RC?’ and then we show them that clip,” Miller said.

He added the clip, posted to YouTube, has gotten 10, 477 views as of May 28, and 10,000 of those views came within the first week.

Wieland, the former executive producer of Sabres TV and the Niagara Frontier Sports Network, said he hopes prospective students hear about the finalist status of SBU-TV Sports in the competition and search out the journalism and mass communication school at St. Bonaventure.

Shepherd said she hopes June 7 brings news of victory when SBU-TV Sports finds out who won the award.

“It justifies the hard work all of the students have put into the truck,” she said.” It’s an honor to be a part of this team. If we win, we find out on June 7 which is my 21st birthday, making it twice as sweet.”

John Gilbert Watson, dean of the School of Business, dies at 67

By Tony Lee, editor in chief, @sHecKii

UPDATED – 9:00 a.m.

John Gilbert Watson, Ph.D., St. Bonaventure University’s dean of the School of Business, died Sunday evening after suffering a stroke in York, Pa., according to a university spokesman. He was 67.

Watson visited friends at a country club Sunday when he had played golf as a young man; he was taken to a York hospital, where he died at 10:15 p.m.

Most students received the news about Watson via the university Notice Board at 9:05 p.m. A message from University President Sr. Margaret Carney, O.S.F., said he was in “grave” condition., St. Bonaventure’s official athletics site, confirmed his death via Twitter.

Watson, who planned to retire in May after a 36-year career at St. Bonaventure, served as the dean for the last four years; the management sciences professor also served as dean from 1976 to 1984 before. 

Students like Nadia Babar, a senior marketing major, got to know him well in and outside of St. Bonaventure. 

Babar, an Olean native, said she saw Watson often when he attended kickboxing classes at the Olean YMCA.

She said he was quiet, but seemed to look like he had fun.

“He was usually the only male in the class, and always helped pick up the heavy punching bags,” Babar said. “He was seriously good at kickboxing to my surprise and never seemed to miss a class.”

Babar said Watson is friends with her parents and have seen him visiting the mosque she goes to in Allegany with Fr. Michael Calabria, O.F.M.

“He’s always just been a really nice person that I’ve respected and looked up to,” Babar said. 

Shannon Shepherd, who was a business major for three semesters, said she had a “bad feeling in her gut” as soon as she read the Notice Board email.

“I had to reread it a few times; I couldn’t believe it,” the junior journalism and mass communication major said. “You could tell Sr. Margaret was in shock, too.”

Shepherd, who covered basketball games for SBU-TV, said though she had not worked with Watson personally, she remembered him for doing color on 95.7 WPIG-FM.

“I just saw him all the time being in (The John J. Murphy Professional Building),” said Shepherd, who often works in the Koop Broadcasting Lab, about 20 paces away from the dean’s office. “He has such an amazing family and that is what makes it extra sad.”

His wife, Suzanne, retired last year after nine years as a lecturer in the university’s computer science department. Their son, Steve, is St. Bonaventure’s director of athletics, and their son, John James, is a marketing professor at the university.

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