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Mass Communication Senior Pursuing an On-Air Career with Music

A Mass Communication student practicing in the live studio

Mass Communication major Justin Rosenberger ’22 followed in the footsteps of his older sister, Ashley Rosenberger ’19, in becoming a Spartan. With the help of supportive faculty and an autism support group on campus, he found his niche in radio broadcasting talking about his passion––music.

When Mass Communication senior Justin Rosenberger first began the college search process, he visited York College of Pennsylvania on Legacy Day—a celebration of family members of current Spartans and alumni. His older sister, Ashley Rosenberger ’19, had attended York College so Rosenberger was already familiar with the campus, but this visit confirmed his choice.

As a prospective student, Rosenberger had the opportunity to see Mass Communication classes in session. He recalls Instructor of Communication Lowell Briggs handing him a set of headphones during a class he was teaching and Rosenberger was able to listen to current students working on their broadcasting skills. “I loved it and thought this could be a top running pick,” says Rosenberger.

Finding his footing

While some former classmates from his high school were at York, Rosenberger had a hard time staying connected with them. “When I first got here, I was more shy because this was a huge change for me from high school to college,” he says. “I was a little bit alone at first because I didn’t have any new friends.”

Linda Miller, the former Director of Student Accessibility Services (SAS), told Rosenberger about the autism support group. “She told me it would really help me make friends here at York College,” he says. “It helped me be more social on campus.” As part of the support group, he was assigned a buddy and they shared activities such as studying and working on projects. He also became very involved in the Communications and Theatre Departments and he chose to minor in Musical Theatre. During his sophomore year, he really began to branch out and make new friends––especially in his acting classes.

From sport to music

At first, Rosenberger’s love of NASCAR and the NFL led him to believe he wanted to broadcast about sports. He realized early on that in order to pursue such a specialty area he’d have to branch out more. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he recognized that he had a much greater passion––music. He loves a very wide variety of music and found that he had much more to say about it.

This led him to join WVYC Radio where he began podcasting about music. His show, Underrated Gems, is about showcasing songs that he believes to be underrated on the air and he discusses them with cohosts.

As a student with autism, Rosenberger struggles with initiating conversation, especially with new people. He’s overcoming this by taking challenges head-on and leading his own class projects. Podcasting with Jeffrey Schiffman, WVYC Radio Station Manager and Instructor of Audio & Radio Production and Mass Communication, has challenged and pushed him out of his comfort zone to go out into the community and work on big projects with new people.

“I remember seeing Professor Jeffrey Schiffman for the first time and he seemed kind of intimidating, but once you get to know him, he’s a really great guy,” says Rosenberger. “Taking that step to really get to know someone can show you a completely different side to them,” he says.

Support from day one

Through his classes at York College, Rosenberger has become prepared to step out into the  radio broadcasting world. He hopes to become a radio DJ after graduation. He had even secured an internship with FUN 101.3 for the spring of 2021, but unfortunately it was canceled due to the station being sold.

From his first day on campus, Rosenberger found the support he needed to succeed. He’s had many of the same professors for various classes and they have got to know him and see him grow over his four years as a Spartan. “All of your professors are willing to help you if you ever need it,” he says. “My advisor told me once, ‘the only way they’ll think you’re not trying is if you’re struggling and you don’t ask for help. But, if you’re struggling and you constantly ask for help, they will appreciate that because they’ll know you want to succeed and try your best.’” And he knows his professors genuinely want to see him succeed.