Rowan junior wins second national Gracie award for WGLS-FM


Radio--good radio--is Julia Giacoboni's life. As host of "The Women's Room," a half-hour talk show that runs Thursdays on Rowan Radio 89.7 WGLS-FM, Giacoboni works to illuminate issues of concern to women.

Radio--good radio--is Julia Giacoboni's life.

"I won't do a stupid show," says Giacoboni, 20, a junior at Rowan University and host of four shows on Rowan Radio 89.7 WGLS-FM.

"I'm really picky about my guests. I don't try to do controversial shows. I'm not a hotshot. But I've found that, particularly with women's issues, there are a lot of topics you can cover. It's not just moms or babies or careers or menopause."

As host of "The Women's Room," a half-hour talk show that runs Thursdays at 5 p.m. on WGLS-FM, Giacoboni, of Cedarville, works to illuminate issues of concern to women. In May, she'll receive a national Gracie Award, presented by the American Women in Radio & Television (AWRT), for outstanding public affairs program in a student market.

Named after comedienne Gracie Allen, the Gracies recognize "exemplary programming created for women, by women and about women in all facets of electronic media," according to AWRT. Giacoboni will receive the prestigious award in a ceremony at New York City's Tavern on the Green.

The Gracie is the second won by "The Women's Room," which began airing in 2002. Two years ago, former host Kelly King also won a Gracie in the same category for a show on breast cancer awareness.

Giacoboni submitted two, seven-minute demos for consideration in the competition: an interview with Barbara Haney Irvine, founding president of the Alice Paul Centennial Foundation (now the Alice Paul Institute); and a show on ovarian cancer awareness featuring guest Kendal Seidel, a survivor of the disease.

"Ovarian cancer is nasty and it's not talked about a lot," says Giacoboni. "That show actually was my mom's idea."

For Giacoboni, the Gracie marks her third major award this academic year.

In November, she was named best college radio public affairs anchor/host at the Philadelphia Achievement in Radio (AIR) College Awards.

In April, she'll travel to Las Vegas to accept a first-place award, with co-producer Brian Kanady, in the best educational program category of the 2008 International Broadcast Education Association competition. Their 30-minute documentary, titled "Fading Farms and Saving Grace: Preserving the Garden State," focused on the preservation of farmland in New Jersey, a subject close to Giacoboni's heart.

The only child of a nurse's aide mom and construction worker dad, Giacoboni grew up on acres of land--"My parents are hippies...very unconventional," she says--and spent much of her childhood playing outside, reading and listening to music. Their home was filled with music ranging from Artie Shaw and Benny Goodman to the Beatles and Van Morrison.

While it was the music that excited Giacoboni about a career in radio-and led her to pursue RTF studies at Rowan-she's found her niche in public affairs. In addition to hosting "The Women's Room" on WGLS, Giacoboni also hosts "A Community Affair," a public affairs show (Monday, 5 p.m.), and "She's Julia and This is her Rock Show" (Tuesday, 11 p.m.). With senior Ashley Smith, she co-hosts the "Rowan Radio Early Bird Special with Julia and Ashley Show" (Tuesday, 7 a.m.)

"I'm usually at the station every day, but Tuesday is my really fun day," she says with a laugh.

"I'm very interested in public affairs," Giacoboni continues. "It's one area in which you have to communicate with people. And I love to talk. There are so many people who deserve to be recognized, both on- and off-campus. They're making differences in their communities. Public affairs shows help to recognize them."

Giacoboni, a 2005 Bridgeton High School graduate, joined WGLS her freshman year. By that spring, she was on the air.

"I stuttered at first," says Giacoboni, who, growing up, was a fan of Rowan Radio and recently met one of her radio idols, Pierre Robert, legendary rock disc jockey at WMMR in Philadelphia, at the AIR Awards.

"Everyone at WGLS has been willing to help me. Everyone works so hard," she continues. "When I took over ‘The Women's Room,' Frank (Hogan, WGLS general manager) said to me, ‘This is your half-hour.' It's so easy to make something here at Rowan. You don't get swallowed up."

Giacoboni was a freshman when Kelly King won the first Gracie for "The Women's Room." She admits to being more than a little nervous when she succeeded King, now at WOGL-FM in Philadelphia.

"Kelly was one of the first people to email me when I found out I won," says Giacoboni. "Winning something like this is really neat, but it means I'll have to do a lot more next year. This just pushes me to be better."

In addition to her WGLS shows, her schoolwork, and a part-time job at Friendly's restaurant, Giacoboni also works at WSNJ-AM (1240/1440) in Bridgeton as a part-time disc jockey and engineer.

"Being there is like going back in time," says Giacoboni, who carries a 3.4 GPA. "I do the family friendly service. It's not completely up my alley. But I really like to be out of my element. And the station has really devoted listeners."