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for April 9, 2003

Making Up Music 7: Andrew Ruggiero
by Your Diva, Robin Pastorio-Newman

Meet Andrew Ruggiero, host of WRSU's El Rey y Yo, presenting the Western Hemisphere's latest, hippest and hottest in Christian music. While Your Darling, Your Diva, Your One True Love once renounced evil in the presence of witnesses, she won't claim expertise in this area. Say, Drew, you and your wife - The Lovely Josephine - talk on air about everything from car repairs to Calypso, how did you end up on WRSU?
AR: It all started in the same place Josephine and I originally met, Philadelphia. I got involved at WEXP in Philadelphia during my 3 semesters at LaSalle University. It was a shoddy A.M. station that didn't even reach the dorms, but I got used to running the boards, and some other technical aspects. Despite the limited experience in broadcasting I was on the fast track to the 2-6am shift on a weekday night on WRSU when I transferred to Rutgers.
Altrok: Christian music is the industry's largest growing sector. Keeping up with what's new sounds ... effort-y, since everyone knows much, much more music is released every month than anyone hears. How do you chase this bunny? How do you choose what to play?
AR: Friends at Church are the best sources for me to get a beat on praise and worship stuff - and the internet helps a lot too. The most challenging though is to be able to get good electronic Christian music - and good ethnic stuff and to get it for free! Usually small labels and independent ministries are the most amiable people to work with in receiving music. I believe that God will open doors for us to win the hearts and minds of a p.r. company handling 20 Christian artists and strange miracles like that. I am troubled by the music industry though, including the Christian scene. There is so much hype and straining and stress to make something sell. There is no peace in it. There is some really good Christian music, though, and some wonderful people who work w/ the music.
Altrok: You and The Lovely Josephine also cook up homemade stuff on the old G3, n'est-ce pas? Do you work with other collaborators? Are you planning to trade the turntable for a recording studio? You're standing on my hem, aren't you?
AR: My sincerest appy-polly-loggies for your hem, and my regards to your shoes - they go well w/your blouse, I must say. Oh yeah , we have some low-end music editing software from France and a little blue imac that we plot out transitions and promos w/ fun and flipped effects like a ring mod, lfo tweakers and ridiculous delays that would have A. Pablo turning in his grave if he were to tune into the likes of the El Rey y Yo. Besides the Holy Ghost, who we personally invite to our home on a regular basis, we have no collaborators yet.
Altrok: You have stuffy day job like the rest of us, and your - say - base demographic just increased by one. Congratulations on your apprentice studio tech! What's his name? Has this changed your feeling about what you're doing?
AR: Timothy, Timo, Timothias, Timut, Timochio, Timmy, Beebo, Mr. Williams, etc. These are some frequent gushings-forth you'll hear when hanging w/us as we hug and cradle him- and he is a really cute chap. Can you run a photo on this strip? It doesn't feel real yet, that I am a big poppa and he is my son. In fact that sounds really scary to me. There is just this new little person in our apartment and I feel this great love for him. Maybe I am still in shock. In terms of the future, I would love to pass on a desire to creatively communicate the Gospel, not necessarily radio. I would love to learn music with him and It would be hot to buy toys and software that we both could get a kick out of, not just daddy being selfish and trying to justify it over a new washer/dryer, etc.
Altrok: El Rey y Yo is Thursday afternoon drive-time, a big honking time slot. What kind of ratings do you get? Does that matter at all? Is my manicurist running late?
AR: We get most of the calls from listeners who like the chant-like messianic worship music, mostly by the Segals in Jerusalem. In terms of formal ratings, I don't think they exist at WRSU. In terms of assessment of listenership - I would be happier with the depth of understanding someone had over a high volume of listeners who might not know what is really going on or what is being spoken about. The message of the Gospel has the power to change and save destroyed lives so I would rate a broadcast pretty well if someone's life was changed in a good way.
Altrok: Button it up for us, Drew. What else is there to know about you?
AR: Do you remember the good feeling you got the first time you read one of those spoof bumper stickers that read, "Visualize Grilled Cheese" That is me and Josephine & Timothy on a good day. And I want to thank you Ms Diva Darling for having us in your strip, its been a great time. After this is over maybe we can talk about that renouncement of evil with witnesses experience you had over lunch or something?
Altrok: Oh, I am bad. I'm not just drawn this way.

©2003 Robin Pastorio-Newman

All material ©2001-2014 Sean Carolan, except as noted.


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