Valentino “Val” Petrarca reached a milestone as he became the first WSOU DJ to reach 100 interviews on Aug. 25, 2021.
Petrarca joined the station as a freshman in Oct. 2018 with the goal of conducting as many interviews as possible, but he said he never imagined reaching 100 during his time at Seton Hall.
“It’s been four years in the making, so it’s surreal to get to this point,” Petrarca said.
Petrarca, a senior visual and sound media major, began his freshman year at WSOU doing around one to two interviews a month. As a sophomore, he said he increased his number to three to four interviews a month.
When Petrarca was promoted to promo manager his junior year, he said he was limited again to one to two interviews a month.
Now, as a senior, he is the current music director at WSOU, which requires him to schedule and coordinate all interviews. As a result of his new position, he conducts five to eight interviews a month.
Frank Scafidi, WSOU’s chief engineer, said he is so proud of Petrarca’s hard work during his four years at the station.
“He’s always made interviews his priority,” Scafidi said. “Val has been totally committed and really into the music.”
Jennifer Kajzer, WSOU’s sales manager, highlighted Pertrarca’s determination.
“Val was determined to hit this milestone for quite some time and to see it come to fruition makes us all proud,” Kajzer said.
Petrarca said his interview with Kevin Skaff, A Day to Remember’s lead guitarist, was one of his most memorable.
“I saw them live for the first time in 2016,” Petrarca said. “It was the best night of my life. Fast forward four or five years, I’m at WSOU and I get the chance to interview the guitarist.”
At the concert, Petrarca was told backstage was too cramped, so he climbed up on the banisters while waiting for the interview.
“I’m thousands of feet up and even the crowd beneath me was really small,” Petrarca said. “Sure enough, the guitarist comes out and I have to interview him while trying not to get vertigo. It was really scary, but after it was done, it was so cool.”
Petrarca said that interviewing is truly his favorite aspect of being involved at WSOU.
“When I started out as a freshman, I just wanted to talk to people I love and worship,” Petrarca said. “But now, as a senior, doing an interview is kind of an art form in itself. I like it when the conversation is just very engaging and you’re really listening to what the person is saying. It feels more like an organic conversation where you’re slowly drawing out information versus question, answer, question, answer.”
In terms of his dream interviews, Petrarca said he hopes to interview bands like Fall Out Boy or My Chemical Romance.
“Since those are arena bands and they would be tough to swing, I would love to interview the Wonder Years or PUP,” Petrarca said.
Petrarca said he hopes to continue being a radio DJ after he graduates, with the hopes that he’ll be able to keep interviewing artists. He said he wants to join a rock radio station or publishing site in the near future.
As of now, Petrarca said his goal is to keep going forward and conduct as many interviews as possible before he graduates.
“I got to 100 interviews, which was insane,” Petrarca said. “I’m not planning on slowing down. I’m going to keep going. Maybe by the time I’m 30 years old, I’ll have reached 1,000.”
Scafidi, along with other WSOU staff, said they have full faith in Petrarca and his future.
“If anyone can do it, it’s him,” Scafidi said.
Dareen Abukwaik can be reached at email@example.com.