Montclair State University is home to the nation’s best college radio station: 90.3 WMSC. Last week, the station’s general manager, professor Anabella Poland, won the Joel Willer Award, one of the most prestigious college radio awards in the country.
The Joel Willer Award is given out by the College Broadcasters, Inc. to a person who has an exceptional dedication to their station and helping their students.
Poland is honored to win the award, especially because it is not given out every year.
“They have had years where people have been nominated and they did not give it to anyone,” Poland said. “So, it seems like a hard one to get.”
Poland was shocked when she won the award and described the moment as a surreal experience. Not only did it give her a sense of validation, but Poland also believes it was a sign from the universe indicating that she is right where she should be in terms of the work she is doing at WMSC.
“The mission is to educate the students,” Poland said. “If the students are earning this many awards and are excited to be here, that means the world to me.”
Poland’s primary role at WMSC is to oversee the license of the station, making sure the rules and regulations of the radio are met by each and every student there.
“These students are looking for guidance,” Poland said. “I teach them management, how to lead and also content — reaching outside of their comfort zones to produce the best content they can.”
Poland’s favorite part about working at the station is seeing a person’s trajectory from when they first start to their final show on the air.
To say Poland is extraordinary would not do her justice; Ben Petruk, associate program director and junior journalism major, makes this very clear.
“She does everything,” Petruk said. “She motivates us, she pushes us, she teaches us lessons that are in and outside of the radio and she lights the fire in all of us.”
Petruk also believes Poland is beyond deserving of the Joel Willer Award.
“This award just signifies all of the radio things she has done for us,” Petruk said. “It doesn’t mention how much she inspires us off the radio, as well.”
Kaya Maciak, a senior communication and media arts major, is the station manager at WMSC. Maciak says Poland has had a huge impact on her time at Montclair S.
“[Poland] has been my biggest influence and mentor throughout my entire college career,” Maciak said. “And she has never even been my professor.”
Maciak goes on to mention that what makes Poland more special is her extending compassion outside of the station, too.
“Not only is she an extraordinary, exceptional mentor, she’s also a friend,” Maciak said. “If you ask every student leader one of the main reasons as to why they are a part of the station, aside from their craft, [they will say] it’s [Poland].”
Kenny Horn, a senior television and digital media major, is the producer of “The Morning Buzz.” Horn, who was very intimidated when first starting at the radio station and never knew it would be this important to him, describes Poland as the heart of the station.
“[Poland] can tell everybody what they’re good at before you can even tell what you are good at. And, she helps you get good at it,” Horn said. “She is the reason we are the best station in the nation.”
Along with the Joel Willer Award, Poland wanted to highlight the awards the students won at the College Broadcasters, Inc. Awards, as well. This includes best audio special broadcast, best comedy, second place for best audio documentary, third place for best station imaging, fourth place for best newscast and fourth place for best hard news reporting.