TV’s Franciscan Connection Cited at Siena’s Dedication of Broadcast Center

Janet Gianopoulos Around the Province

LOUDONVILLE , N.Y.— In the process of beefing up its broadcast studies this spring, Siena College opened its new television studio and recognized its popular radio station last month by honoring New York State Broadcasters Association president Joseph A. Reilly.

The two hubs of Siena’s broadcasting program were dedicated as the Joseph A. and Carol M. Reilly Broadcast Centers, in recognition of Reilly’s gift, his work as president of the association, and in memory of his late and beloved wife, Carol.

“We are very grateful to Joe Reilly for a generous gift to Siena College,” said Siena’s president Kevin  Mackin at the April 24 event.  “As host of a few radio programs, I have a deep appreciation for people with full-time careers in broadcasting.  In fact, several Siena alumni are in news work, including CNN White House correspondent Ed Henry, who visited recently to speak to incoming students.”

Siena College’s professional-level radio station, WVCR FM 88.3 The Saint, boasts 35,000 watts of power plus an Internet stream, with a broad music playlist along with news and views, sports and other long format programming.

In his presentation, Kevin mentioned that the dedication is particularly special because of the  Franciscan connection to the field of television.

“One Christmas Eve,” Kevin said, “illness forced St. Clare of Assisi to remain in the dormitory while her Sisters went to Mass.  Clare was disappointed at first, but suddenly, she was able to hear the music being sung in the church a mile away, and to see the manger the friars had set up in church.  And so was the testimony, back in the 13thcentury.

“This touching miracle inspired Pope Pius XII to proclaim St. Clare the patroness of television in 1958.  I’ve thought of it when I’ve celebrated Masses on television.”

The dean of Siena’s School of Liberal Arts, Ralph Blasting, said the Reilly Broadcast Centers’ new TV studio includes a soundproof control booth and a studio space with a new audio system, monitors, switchers, and four Macintosh video editing bays, as well as upgraded electrical service, and dedicated heating and air conditioning.

Recognizing a regional need and student demand for training in broadcast media, Siena College’s courses related to broadcasting maintain a strong link between the college’s liberal arts education and the rapidly changing field of broadcast communications, by enhancing a student’s major with training and experience in contemporary media.

The focus is students’ opportunities for hands-on, creative work.  The Joseph A. and Carol M. Reilly Broadcast Centers give students on-air and technical experience in a radio station, the facility to create video material for an on-campus network, and the opportunity for further reach through the college’s collaboration with Time Warner Cable.

Biographical Background
Joseph A. Reilly is president and executive director of the New York State Broadcasters Association, with headquarters in Albany, N.Y.  Reilly represents the interests of more than 700 radio and television stations in the Empire State.  Included among his constituency are the major New York City based radio and television networks.

A native New Yorker, Reilly was named the first full-time executive director of the association in 1980, and added the role of president in 1986.  Over the past decade, membership in the association has tripled.

As chief spokesman and lobbyist, Reilly advocates for the broadcasting profession before state and federal legislative bodies, and represents the association throughout the nation.  Among his many achievements was his leadership of the six-year battle to open New York State’s courts to cameras and microphones.  That historic struggle succeeded in 1987 with legislation permitting the electronic media entry into courtrooms throughout the state.

Before joining the association, Reilly founded, owned and operated several broadcast properties in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Reilly is also a director of the New York State Youth Advisory Board, and the Broadcasters Foundation of America, and several other organizations.

He is a graduate of Christian Brothers Academy in Albany, and Seton Hall University in South Orange, N.J. He resides in Voorheesville, N.Y.

Carol Reilly, born in Newark, N.J., was a long-time resident of New York’s Capital Region. The former president of marketing of the Griffin Group, headed by entertainer Merv Griffin, began her career as promotion director for Albany, N.Y. radio station WWOM FM 101. After transferring to sales, Carol was named the station’s sales manager in 1982.

In 1984, she was hired by the Great Scott Radio Group as general sales manager of radio stations WTRY and WPYX.  Described as “amiable yet determined,” she believed that self-esteem and results can be built by encouragement and attention.

Carol Marie Reilly died in 2000 after a battle with cancer. Joe and Carol were married for 41 years and are the parents of two children, Jeffrey and Donna; and the grandparents of four.

— Janet Gianopoulos is director of news services at Siena College.