WTJU uproar: Staffers fuming over station's changes

news-beardWTJU station manager Burr Beard had hoped to keep his ideas for increasing listenership at the radio station internal.

It’s been just two months since Burr Beard replaced retiring WTJU station manager Chuck Taylor, but he already appears to have a full-scale revolt on his hands. Recently, emails from WTJU volunteers, disgruntled about "sweeping changes" that Beard was implementing, began circulating.

"There's major trouble at WTJU," one staffer wrote, "Burr Beard, the new manager, is attempting to impose sweeping, if yet undisclosed, changes. What has leaked out so far has the longtime volunteer staff in an uproar and threatening a strike."

In a call to the Hook, another WTJU staffer complained that Beard wasn’t going to "let DJs play their own songs" and that there was a "mutiny" going on.

Beard has sent messages to WTJU’s staff explaining the proposed changes, a kind of cheerleading effort to get WTJU staff excited about strategies to increase listenership and fundraising. As Beard pointed out, "on average only 7,500 people listen each week. That's the smallest audience of any non-comm station serving Charlottesville." Beard has proposed introducing commercial radio-style play lists or rotations.

"Radio’s strong point is repetition," wrote Beard. "That’s why commercials are repeated so often. It also works when we repeat songs a number of times per week. How can we make spin count and repetition work for us while still remaining fresh and non-commercial?"

The story already appears to have become news without the media. A DJ named Pete Marshall, concerned that his Friday-night roots music showcase, "Sunset Road," was on the chopping block, decided to resign after nearly 20 years with WTJU.

"The master plan might work but honestly, Burr," wrote Marshall, "your communication skills suck."

Despite a request from Beard to his staff to “keep this internal so we can go with a controlled media release,” Marshall's departure has become the first shot fired in a war that has begun moving to a blog called "WTJU in Crisis."

"I do believe that the public deserves to know about what is happening," says DJ Tyler Magill, who created the blog, "and that the public should, if they so desire, have a say in what happens."

There, one DJ lauds a recent show by Magill featuring a sermon set to electronic music. "It was long and irreverent, exactly the thing the sets our station apart," writes Elizabeth Stark.

However, such quirky content may have had a downside. Another letter, this one from UVA's director of media relations, Marian Anderfuren, suggests that a lack of accessible music contributed to listenership and financial malaise– a situation Beard was hired to fix.

"We had approval from the highest levels of University leadership," Anderfuren writes, "to close the station down if we didn't see a reasonable path toward improvement."

So what does Beard think of all this? Well, he’s not saying anything now, but promises to on Thursday, June 24 during an all-station meeting at 5:30pm

“I'll invite you to get the full package of factual information on the changes and a chance to interview lots of people,” he says.



THe fact that the University should value an outlet and exhibition space for fine art - like WTJU - by its _popularity_ is absurd. By this argument, UVA might well close the Art Museum, because it probably gets fewer than 7500 visitors per week also (and it is far, far more costly to operate).

The question is begged, what is the purpose of an educational institution? What should be the purpose of WTJU? Surely not the advancement of popular culture! It has always been: education, which means introducing and fostering a diversity in ideas and expression.

With that little rant out of the way, the matter of WTJU’s survival under this ridiculous regime can be addressed in a number of ways. For one, the station can go ââ?¬Å?underground” via the web. Even with the loss of ââ?¬Å?wireless” broadcasting (bandwidth allocation), the audience can receive the programming via the internet. Most of the station's audience is of a type that is very web savvy already, so a move to internet streaming will hardly make a big difference to them. To reach people in their cars, there’s always podcasting. These are the media of the future anyway, and inherently more friendly to diversity and niche interests.

Or, perhaps the station can return to its roots: with a reduced on-air audience, one naturally works with a reduced budget, less broadcasting power, less studio space. When I first worked at WTJU, the station occupied the equivalent of three dorm rooms in LeFevre dorm - how many listeners did we have then?

There’s nothing wrong with taking the station private, and making it very small.

The one year that I had the honor of being station president (1986?) I floated this idea - half in jest - in response to general unhappiness about UVA’s perennial attempts at interference in the programming or management. Maybe it’s an idea whose time has finally come. WTJU could easily rent a small house, move the LP collection, and be free of UVA's meddling. There's no need for paid staff or management.

I wish the station and DJ’s all the best!

Boris Starosta

WTJU has been musical wasteland for decades. It's been run like a club that doesn't make money or care if anyone is listening or not. So what if a 20 year old show DJ quits. They have acted like their line up was handed down like sacred scrolls from the mountaintop.

Some people had great slots because they got their first not because they were good or because people listened. It's time they woke up and hear how big boy radio works. The University can no longer support a money losing use of the public airwaves the real doesn't serve the public. The fact that only 7500 people listen is proof that they should have let go their old station manager years ago. Nice guy but he is the single biggest reason they are in this mess.

To all those WTJU DJ's threatening to quit - do it - no one will know your gone

As a WTJU "sub" DJ who is much less involved or opinionated on the issue as many longtime DJs, I have to agree with Disgusted on his last response - there is certainly a need for change at WTJU, whether it be in formatting or style, as Mr. Beard wants, to create consistency and more of an identity for the station (of course, some of the longtime DJs may completely disagree with me on this). The way that these changes have come "sweeping" in has not been handled very appropriately (which is the real issue here). Hopefully, Mr. Beard will be willing to work with DJs and staff to compromise on proposed changes - and not turn this into an alienating dictatorship!

They should go to an all talk show format and air intellegent conversation. I suggest Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glen Beck, Laura Ingram, and other fair and balanced, intellegent conversation like that. Maybe Charlottesville would actually learn something since the schools clearly are not teaching anything.

@St.Halsey "I don’t have any problem with the programming as long as I’m not asked to massively subsidize what a self selected few have decided is worthy- that’s clearly elitist."

UVa Football and basketball are horrible. They haven't seen championship seasons in years. They are a tremendous waste of funds for a higher education facility of UVa's caliber. Not to mention the tremendous tax burden they place on the City of Charlottesville and the County of Albemarle as they maintain the roads and the police enforcement necessary during these events. I will assume that you support their dismantlement as well.

WTJU is a challenge. A challenge to the community to decide if art, both weirdo and completely accessible, has a place in their community. If it doesn't, then the changes at WTJU won't matter. Thus, creativity and art won't matter in Charlottesville either.

Thomas Jefferson certainly never cared for anything interesting, creative or challenging. Not like that guy ever spurred anything revolutionary. Or spent any tax dollars on things that inspired the mind.

Let's pave the Mall. And the Lawn while we're at it. My taxes shouldn't pay for that kind of stuff.

Extremely well said, Sam.

@ yeah: What an uninformed and pointless comment. You should be ashamed.

Also, it seems that the university has realized that their decisions were rash and hurried, as they've pushed back any changes:


The "petulant children" you speak of (which include myself, as I'm a former DJ...thanks for being so respectful) must have made some pretty decent points to convince administration officials to change their minds.

The DJ's and staff might benefit from listening to KZSU a little on the internet. Stanford U. Eclectic but professional.

To remind everyone...

THE ISSUE: A group of dedicated volunteers that have been ASKING for change for quite some time have been told by people they barely know that the change coming (REMINDER: the DJs had been asking for change) is being foisted on them with little time for consideration or discussion.

It's not about taxes, it's not about whiney bloggers, It's not about people afraid of change.

It's a very real event to a passionate few.

There's a radio station with dedicated volunteers that have made a lot of sacrifices over the years and their whole world is getting turned upside down in two weeks by forces beyond their control. Yes, they'll move on with their lives, but this is a big deal to them and it's something they feel passionate about. People make movies about this moment and the audience cheers when they win or cries when they don't, but they never tire of the story.

The whiners afraid of change are not the DJs.

And none of this has to do with taxes.

P.S. At very old timer - You're wrong. Every one of the volunteers acknowledges the need for change. It's just that in the past we've been made part of the process. This is the first time in my memory that we've been cut out of something so fundamental, and I've been with the station ten years. There are people who've been at the station longer than many of the listeners have been alive and whose experience would have been a valuable asset in working out a plan. In the email exchanges I've been very impressed with the imagination and flexibility of the alternative ideas proposed. These could have been discussed in an orderly, open manner; the whole flap here is not due to DJ ire, but to the secrecy with which this was all conducted so as to be handed to us as a fait accompli.

The purpose of this is not a "told you so" from a bygone era, but rather an attempt to put some perspective on what is happening. It is a drama that has been repeated at countless stations around the country in the past 20 years. There are lessons and caveats for all involved here:

1- The University:

The University of Virginia, in normal economic times, made a decision, probably by default, to allow its property to become an eccentric, eclectic voice for the community. It chose NOT to enforce any standard "radio-ness" any where in the operation, which drove away, or failed to attract, a significant audience, while endearing it to a smaller and ever more loyal "inside" group.

A History lesson: UVA had an opportunity to grow WTJU the right way in the 1960's when a graduate of the E-school offered them a free 10,000 watt transmitter from his employer, but UVA just couldn't deal with the associated factors actually of having a "real" radio station that power like this would have created. Then it was an NPR affiliate for 2 years in the 1970's, but couldn't muster the very limited resources to remain one. (A founding member of NPR was UVA professor Bernard Mays, who set this up.) In the early 1990's, the NRN founders proposed a 2-station 91.1/91.9 solution for a Rock/Folk/Urban and matching Jazz/Classical/Experimental pair of stations. They let that slip. The current generation of news/talk public operations was an option 5 years ago....then Radio IQ came along to pick up this un-served market.

Now ,all of a sudden the University is concerned that their radio station is a money drain? WTJU's future is now to be the 4th tier non-comm station in a market with 3 regional networks, one (WNRN)headquartered in its home market. Hey Rotunda folks, it's a little late to be smelling the coffee. What you've got is a "college station," that if you stripped the unnecessary costs
from it could probably make it fine with some minor twaeks, and the standard resources that universities of the size and caliber of UVA (w/o media depts.) put in to their "college stations." Trying to turn WTJU into something it isn't with the resources (human & otherwise)realistically available will do more harm than good.

2-The Volunteers:

The problem with WTJU volunteers starts with a misunderstanding
of what "their" station is. I have consulted for "community stations" before, where music & broadcasting loving community
members start with a plan, get a license, and build a station and a business. Plenty of controversy can follow that, but WTJU is not this sort of station. It is the braodcast property of UVA, and they can do with it what they like. They can allow an association to run it, or allow various individuals to do their thing for 2 hours a week. They can broadcast "vacuum cleaner noises" as a previous post-er noted, or institute whatever changes they might like, no matter how questionable. Volunteers there seem to have developed an attitude that somehow UVA owes them what they have always had because they've always had it. It doesn't.

All of the proposed changes noted in the first section above ran into violent, unquestioning opposition, for the same reasons noted in many of the posts. ("Oh we're unique and charming, and the real world just bothers us and doesn't understand.") Lip service is always paid to the general principle of change, but it always evaporates as soon as it becomes clear that a volunteer might have to do his or her show at one time as opposed to another.

It's easy to look at the silly posts about WNRN and our play lists (none in the Specialty Shows by the way), and laugh at the
generalized broadcast ignorance, like complaining about repetition. We, and even our high school volunteers, know enough about radio to think in a sophisticated manner about this type of thing: When it gets to repetitive, we are happy have listeners spend time with other stations (even WTJU), or their IPOD's or whatever, as long as they come back as a part of their overall media & specifically radio, use. Comments like, "oh WTJU is going Clear-Channel" reflect upon the intelligence of the commenter: A Clear Channel rock station will play a song 75 times a week, we may play it 12 times, I would expect a WTJU rotation to be less than that...My point here is that WTJU has no one, except maybe this new manager, who I have yet to meet, who understands this medium. Unless he, and the University, are willing to teach them, AND THE VOLUNTEERS ARE READY TO LEARN something about it, no good will come of what's being done, apparently precipitously.

The University of Virginia needs realistic goals as to what they expect from being both a licensee and educational institution. The volunteer announcers (and "fans") need to understand that they will not be taken seriously in matters concerning a broadcast station, if they know nothing about broadcasting. (Math grad students may have opinions about the history curriculum, but no one takes them seriously.)

WTJU cannot continue as it is. The university, after having had that pointed out to them often over the last generation, and now that money is tight, seems to now understand this. The volunteers, and concerned fans apparently do not yet. Apparently some of them are ready to let the whole thing go rather than cooperate of something both special to them and supportable --it has happened before. Compromise may not be possible. The University could get some cash by selling it; and the disaffected would be free to apply to the FCC in the soon-coming (prob. in '11) FM-LP station filing window to get a license and put a station on the air that reflects their programming values. It would be interesting to see the kinds of decisions these people would make with a facility in which they are personally invested.

"General Manager Mike Friend’s hard work and shear enthusiasm for non-commercial radio" ... Ha! MF doesn't know what non-commercial means. He's hardly making decisions that help NRN stand out from the crowd. Gone are the days where Jaz Tupelo and/or Ronda Chollock could throw a curveball at you that would make you want to listen for what they had coming next. That Nickelback clone overload, that makes the 3pm until whenever it stops unlistenable, all comes straight off the Modern Rock Top 40 chart. Take a look... does that look non-commercial to you??
What Charlottesville needs is some variety, especially after 3pm.
Get it sorted TJU, we need you on the air, just to mix it up a little.

I used to like listening to WTJU in college, but I always felt like the only one aware of its presence. Tricky situation for sure.

well said mike friend!

My previous comment spoke seriously to the abysmal quality of every evening's radio format on WNRN and why you won't get any more $$ from me. I'm sure there are others who agree.

This is a *silly* comment: Hey Mike "C" you're the Nickelback DJ and, don't take this personally, but your show is incredibly lame, with programmed sterility and your nebbish commentary on the little "news of the weird" bits every day. You've been doing this how many years now? Perhaps you don't know broadcast journalism that well either. WNRN isn't even AAA ball.

Of course Beam was talking about the most profitable, best show on the station, Sunshine Daydream, Crawl on out out your window. and after that there's no other than the Garage sale with Brother Jimmy the Truth. and who csn spend a Saturday without Jumping on the Bed.
God Bless Jerry Garcia,

@ Steve: I am at least HOPING that the intentions of making WTJU's proposed changes public would be get (constructive) input from the public on whether these changes would be worthwhile, as opposed to letting JUST the DJs argue among themselves internally without complete disregard to the public - the listeners! That is my personal opinion, of course - I don't speak for all DJs, many of whom may feel the need to go public for the exact reasons you stated. I personally don't want to pull the "it's all about the DJs" card - the Hook, c-ville, etc. will do this of course because that creates news. And, unfortunately, many comments will put a negative twist on this.

On the bright side, this is some major publicity for the 'teej! Maybe more people will weigh in constructively.

WTJU used to be something...a long time ago. Now it's just a station no one listens to: obscure and uninteresting for the sake of it. Zombie mumbling monotone DJs spinning records for themselves, wallowing in their own misbegotten coolness. I bet if they broadcast a vacuum cleaner for 24 hours without interruption, no one would notice.

I remember listening to afro-pop on Friday afternoons in late 80s - early 90s with a DJ who was so enthusiastic and knowledgeable. His love for the music was infectious, and he wasn't too cool to explain the elements of the various types of music for his audience. Those were different days.

How much money could it possible be losing? About 250 watts and some trumped up rent in Lambeth or wherever they've been exiled to?

The place has non-profit educational mission. Not a repetition mission. Get some more students on the air and see what happens. Fire the ridiculous new manager. Appeal to the new pres!

This from Marian Anderfuren's letter to the volunteer staff:

"Many of you have expressed an understanding of the necessity for the station to change in order to survive. Change is often difficult, but together we can make good things happen at WTJU for listeners, students, donors and underwriters."

Apparently to Marian "together" refers only to the implementation of policy, not to forming it in a creative manner with all those concerned. It's sort of like "bipartisanship" under W., meaning one side calls the shots while the other obeys orders. If the very existence of the station was threatened months ago, why not tell us so we could all lend a hand? Surely she must have known that we would have moved mountains to keep that from happening, including a serious, open discussion of the University's concerns and how to creatively, intelligently meet them.

7500 people listen to 'TJU? That seems like a lot for Central Virginia. If the station doesn't have commercials, then what's the point of adopting a commercial format?

I'd love it to become a student run sports station that carries the UVA games in order to train students to be broadcasters...

I recently decided that I will no longer support WNRN precisely because they are too repetitive and between 3 and 8 pm it's nothing but cheesy "Children of Nickelback" rant rock.

WTJU is a quintessential cultural icon in Charlottesville. Sure there are some ridiculous DJ's and tunes that sound like cats on fire but that's a large part of the charm. Often I turn on TJU to be surprised, shocked, and suspended from the predictable. And I listen also to be educated by knowledgeable jazz, reggae, classical, opera, folk, and rock DJ's.

If we let this station die (and what's being proposed is certainly a very real death) then something is wrong with us.

It's a scam that WTJU has been using taxpayer's money to EVER have been on the campus in the first place!

The music has NOTHING to do with the University of Virginia or the student body, and never has!

Even going back to the 1970's, the disc jockeys have always been twice the age of the student body, and the music has been as far from anything that college students or faculty members at UVa would be interested in as possible.

Just give each employee a copy of the book "who moved my cheese" after they read it they will understand the need for change. My company did that and it prevented any and all problems that could occur from the many changes that were implemented. yea right!

No one over the age of 25 be a DJ, sell ads, work in the offices, or have any say in anything that WTJU does from now on!

The Hook should do a big investigation to determine HOW WTJU got the funding to be on UVa property, and how it's managed to stay on UVa property for this long, at the expense of UVa students and their student activity fees!

So it has been run at a loss for twenty years and the people there don't want any changes....

Sounds like the US Congress....

When the cheese starts to smell, you've got to move it!

Allow me to retort that I find the afternoon programming on WNRN refreshing and cool while Anne Williams consistently bores me to death. It's not that she plays acoustic music, but acoustic music from people that need to go on anti-depressants. Whenever there is a substitute DJ in the morning on WNRN I find the music MUCH more enjoyable. Also she has no clue how to interview people. Her questions are invariably full of "ummmmm"s and "uhhhhhh"s and boil down to simplistic, toddler-level queries... "what's it like, like, being, ummmmmm, a musician?" Really inane.

Wait a minute ! Isn't this a non-commercial station ? Isn't it an alternative ? Why all the emulation of commercial outlets ? There seems to be some kind of disconnect going on here...

Get over the ratings and cume envy and get back to community radio !

Jeez !

I totally agree with Sam. A state or publicly supported radio station SHOULD be playing the long tail, the weird stuff, the stuff that would otherwise find no distribution in a private market.

I think this role is important, and I think much of the rest of the world agrees. Why is it that we Americans can't figure out how to support the arts?

Kittymom I think they could get students to do it or they could make more money by providing a radio station the community would support financially- then they could actually pay the daytime staff.

Sam- I don't have any problem with the programming as long as I'm not asked to massively subsidize what a self selected few have decided is worthy- that's clearly elitist. The WTJU DJ's aren't creating art to begin with- they are playing other people's music. Art must find a audience if you are going to ask the public to pay for it. Plus you have to consider in all this that all the music they play can still be found on the internet and record stores. But lastly the thing you are missing the most is it's the public air waves- it is a gross violation of that trust and mission to play music that nobody wants to hear. Arts for Arts sake is fine by me- but not on the public's air wave if you must get taxpayers to also keep it alive.

@beam me up Etc. I'd like to understand what you are talking about. Can you elaborate?

Sounds to me like beam is hoping for the demise of 'TJU. Nice.

I have been listening to TJU since I was in college here in the 80's. I missed it when I moved, and was glad to listen again when I moved back 10 years ago. In my mind, it is the only listenable station in this area. With the exception of one program that airs at midnight one day a week, NRN is no different than any of the other generic stations in this region. I think the programming is boring. I will be very disappointed to see TJU lose its character.

I am very upset to hear about these changes that are on the horizon at WTJU. In my opinion, WTJU is the best station in this area, and the fact that it is eclectic, diverse, non-commercial, different, and "weird" is what I love about it. I have donated to them during the recent jazz marathon and folk/rock marathon because the programming these volunteer DJs put together is some of the best there is. It has always drove me crazy that 106.1 The Corner uses the slogan "different is good", when clearly the only station in this area who could claim that is WTJU. Obviously I know not everyone in the Charlottesville community agrees with my points, but we have several other more mainstream and commercialized stations to turn to. WTJU is unique, and in my eyes, a gem. Every time I listen to rock, jazz, folk, and classical programming I know that I am going to hear something I can not hear anywhere else in this area, and I am constantly discovering new music and having my ears opened to bands/groups I would have never heard of if not for the DJs at WTJU. Sure there are things that can be changed to help bring in more listeners and donations, but PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not get rid of the format of letting the DJs choose what they want to play. You can give this station a face-lift without sacrificing what your loyal listeners love about this station. THANK YOU to all the volunteer DJs at WTJU who have exposed me to such great (non-mainstream) music.

Wow Tom Petty, Black Label Society (Zakk Wylde Ozzy's guitar player), Sammy Hager, and Johnny Cash are on the modern rock chart referenced above! I guess alternative has gone mainstream. No wonder Saga Communications Inc. (NYSE Amex-SGA) has a "different is good" corporate altrock station in this market (they are in 26 markets see the website - http://sagacom.com/corporate/map.shtml). I guess imitation is the highest form of flattery. I choose the real local product - WNRN. TJU has it own niche I hope they find a way to keep it.

Whatever your views of the rights and wrongs of the matter, don't pay a lot of attention to Mike Friend. His animosity towards WTJU is notorious and dates back 20 years or more to his own association with WTJU.

A point that has not been mentioned is that UVa created the current financial situation. A volunteer association once ran and funded WTJU. Over the years, UVa has installed four paid positions which account for roughly half the station's costs.

UVa owns the station. They can run it as they like. They run it with the use of free, volunteer labor. Up until now, it's been run with volunteers being given a considerable voice in the operations.

UVa is certainly free to have its station run as a manipulative dictatorship, but it's going to have a much harder time getting free labor and none of that labor is going to be mine.

"I woke today, felt your side of the bed......."

i love listening to wtju. the variety of music that they play is amazing. its obvious that they are having financial problems though. Student involvement would really help it out. I'm sure there are lots of UVA students who know a lot about music or are interested in radio. The UVA student run r+b station 92.7 KISS doesn't really provide a place for eclectic music lovers to share their passion.

@Lightning B'more:

Can someone post a picture of Mike Friend, or mention when he was at the station? (I have no criminal intent...rather, just am confused. There were so many in the 80s..?)



I think redwhiteblue has mischaracterized what's actually been happening. I'm by no means an insider, but from what I've read the manager did not "propose" a plan, he simply said "this is happening in two weeks," and seems to have prejudged anyone else's questions as inappropriate from the start, to the point, apparently, of actually threatening volunteers with being fired for inviting those outside the station into the discussion. The DJs quickly offered a well reasoned set of counter proposals which could meet management's demands without changing what current volunteers and current listeners love about TJU. Some of these proposals were accepted and some were flatly rejected, but in neither case was there any attempt to explain or defend the decisions that were made, or even any apparent sense that the volunteers would have appreciated an explanation.

Something else I've noticed in some of the statements management has made (I sent them an email this morning and got a standardized response in a few seconds) is that two of their major goals in TJU's reinvention are 1) decrease or eliminate the station's dependence on funding that comes from the student activities fees the university charges all its students, and 2) increase student involvement and the stations overall identification with the University. Aren't they somewhat disingenuously presenting these two goals as consistent with one another? Currently about half the budget comes from student fees, and the station benefits anyone who wants to tune in or participate (including, of course, UVa students). It seems like what the University wants is for the non-student community to shoulder the entire burden of funding the station, while at the same time working to reserve the station's benefits for those privileged enough to attend the university (I say this as a former dj who is both an instructor and a student at UVa).

Fog lays above land
Forest shades truth of many
Tree weeps for twig bent

@RWB Can't "haiku" this, but:

Mr. Beard mentions wanting Charlottesville to become "the Austin of the East." Which tells me he does not know a lot about Austin, nor about Charlottesville. To wit:

Last winter, the University of Texas's Cactus Cafe was summarily shut down for budgetary reasons. I'm reminded of that becuase the WTJU issue is similar in nature: the Cactus was a venerable part of Austin's muscial history (Austin: "The Live Music Capital of the World" -- yet, so many musicians had to *leave* town as it, became too expensive, tedious to live there.) Like WTJU, though, The Cactus operated at a deficit ($50,000 or so per year), but served the community well and provided a lot of goodwill. The closing of the Cactus was a done deal, though, before students and alums and residents launched their protest -- which makes me fear for this process around the radio station (in addition to the fears I have around words like "transparency"?).

Charlottesville is *more* like Austin now than Austin was when Austin was still "weird" -- thanks to WTJU and its alums. There are so many venues (compared to when I was at Virginia, when you had to go to Richmond or DC to see most shows) and in my most recent years in Charlottesville, I saw some super, small shows: those bands didn't go to Lynchburg, or Harrisonburg, or even Richmond -- they went to Charlottesville, because Charlottesville has this nifty little college radio station. Charlottesville will never be like Austin because it does not have the state capitol and a school as big as UT. Charlottesville is really its own best thing, in that regard.

What's hard for marketers, branders or, for the love of God, "radio-station consultants" to "get" around something like WTJU is the power of a small, changing group of people, over time, to produce a sensibility or style.

That doesn't mean, at all, that NRN does not deserve its place in a growing market. It *does* mean that NRN will never come up with anything "new" (or "fresh," or "original" or "welcome" -- those words you'll see over and again around any sort of aesthetic criticism). (Please don't tell me, again for the love of God, that "NRN" stands for "New Radio Now" -- ??? Jeez.) It's that "fascism" idea -- what Kundera called "kitsch," or a "second-tear" response: I listen to something without knowing what it is on WTJU and I think, "Damn, I like this." I listen to something "popular" on another station that I've heard is good and that all my friends are listening to and I think, "I know this is good. I like this." That's the peril -- and the benefit, in a way -- of playlists. (I'll add that if one listens to TJU rock programming over time, one will hear organically generated playlists of a sort... .)

A few years ago at the Washington Post, writers were asked to come up with ideas for retaining readership, how to streamline the paper, and so forth. Lots of interesting ideas, but the smartest, really, was from the terrific Hank Stuever. He said, in essence, "Let's keep the paper the way it has been, and give it more depth and breadth and *heft* -- stop cutting and changing and marketing and catering." His comments recalled the title of a book some years ago by another good writer, Jim Fallows (of the Atlantic Monthly), who wrote about how, at the time, America was struggling to compete with Japan (before Japan became its own victim -- much like Austin has. He called his book, "More Like Us" -- and that's a place from which, I hope, the powers that be will operate around WTJU. Instead of changing to "compete" with stations who already mimic WTJU -- unwittingly -- or trying to turn the Charlottesville market into an Austin one, perhaps a higher sensibility will prevail for Mr. Burr, Ms. Wood, and Ms. Anderson.

Oh, OK:

Let's keep our fingers
Crossed, and say our prayers as well:
What Would John Beers Do?


I was just told there are power outages in C'ville due to a big storm. Power currently due to be restored by the end of the weekend.

Thousands still in dark after yesterday’s storm

So, more importantly, what is the deal? Both the station and website are non-functional as of today. Is it already gone? Struck by lightning (if the thunder don't get you...) in some twisted occurrence of fate? Like a steam locomotive rollin' down the track...?

I have been a listener since 1975. My family has directly supported the station through contributions. I guess anyone who lives here or buys goods and services within the confines of the Commonwealth supports the station.

I would like to point out that from the Corporate point of view (UVA is a big corporation ala company store as we are all aware) the DJ strike or anyone currently involved with the station who throws in the towel is doing them a favor. The Company has no allegiance to its employees and as any large employer does, knows that its employees, every one, is/are replaceable. In times of conflict like this it is much easier for them to replace people as they flee. Quicker for them to complete the borg-like transformation this way. The employee always sees himself as indispensable until he is gone and replaced and the Borg drifts on.

I don't condone this, but everyone needs to see it from the Company's point of view in order to determine the best way to keep the diversity & station intact. The loss of Emmett and Pete are going hit particularly hard for me. In my mind they can not be replaced, but I know the Company will not see it this way. I will take these losses as I have all the Millions of dollars that have been sucked out of the County tax base thanks to the Company. Just another hawk in our face by the Company Store. Like the heated parking garages, estate properties on and on.

My barngarage radio will remain with the frequency open to the spot on the dial that was in hopes it will one day return.

Thank yew for a real good time!

Reality Check, please check in with the reality put forth in previous posts. This topic has been covered. There are students participating as we speak, but there are also community members, as this is a community radio station. It is just not EXCLUSIVELY a student- or community-staffed station.

If you don't believe any of the DJs should carry on shows for more than your 4 years, that is your prerogative, but tradition and continuity are also valuable for good radio. Really a mix of both is desirable to me, and that is what WTJU represents. More student involvement is valuable, and I'll grant you this: with the way the time slots are set up, it is difficult for students to get prime slots. They are in now way discouraged or excluded from having shows however.

I am not trying to be combative here, but you are not addressing the actual issues as they exist. Please go research the facts of what is really at issue for WTJU, which, as its mission clearly states, is a community radio station. Everyone I know that DJs at the station welcomes student participation, but in combination with the shows that have a rich history and amazing content that only someone who has devoted significant time to doing radio can provide.

I was thinking along the same lines as you were about the Museum-Formerly-Called-the-Bayley. I called and asked how many visitors they average, and was told instantly: 3,000 per month, or about 750 per week.
It's wonderful to "see" you again. Is there a way you can get in touch with me or Spot?

When Jerry died, so did the most important trditional source of marathonal support. Let's be grateful it's dead.

Thanks, MtP. I meant to send it to another local weekly publication, the name of which escapes me at this very moment. *whistles nonchalantly, coughs nonchalantly, coughs inn increasing frenzy. sinks to knees. curtain falls. theater burns down*

Thanks for the input Mike Friend. Very informative. St. Halsey is right - Anne Williams show has the best of both worlds eclectic, unpredictable and informative while delivered in a professional manner and successful (yes commercially so - you have to pay the bills!). Does anyone know how much of WTJU's funding comes from the Unversity? It sounds like they aren't as dependent upon community support as public perceptions would have it.If their fundraisers are only to provide 25% or less or their operating budget then a pledge to WNRN is more critical to keeping community radio alive in Central Virginia in my opinion. Thanks for the article and the comments!

Is left over biscuits still on the air?

The only thing wrong with the station is that they do not play a lot of Lady GaGa! I think there should be a daily all GaGa show!

Sad to see WTJU going all Clear Channel. That's the beauty of this station is that you never know what you'll hear. I'll miss it while I close my checkbook. Diversity? I fear homogenization.

One of the amazing elements of WTJU has always been that the hosts determine what music is played. There have been no edicts from on high regarding content, other than keep it relevant to the show's general subject matter and don't violate FCC guidelines.

That is what makes TJU special. Burr says that "Radios strong point is repetition" and that's the foundation upon which be builds his case for mandated playlist rotation. Nothing could be further from the truth. I and the people I've talked with tune to WTJU because we know we WON'T hear the same music over and over. We WON'T hear what the station manager decides we need to hear. We WILL hear what the hosts have spent many hours putting together for us, the listeners. Mandated playlists of even 4 songs per hour have the potential to wreck a show completely. If the host feels like doing an hour on Mingus, it's going to suck if the station manager, or the record company contact who "makes suggestions with greased palms" determine that the hour will also include a track from the new MMW CD, one from a recently re-released Dave Brubeck CD, etc.

People tune into WTJU to hear music. Period. They don't tune in for personalities (with a couple of major exceptions). They want to hear music they don't get elsewhere. Yes, improved training of the hosts to improve delivery will be welcomed by everybody. Yes, repetitive underwriting is great. Yes, block scheduling is LONG overdue. But if your people skills are so pathetic that a 20-year veteran finds out about a significant schedule change through the grapevine, you probably aren't equipped to manage the volunteers you need to count on to operate the station.

But introducing mandated play list rotation does nothing to improve the station in any way. As an old community radio guy he HAS to know that. Which makes me wonder who's pulling that thread. University? Makes no sense. Record companies? We may never know. We do know that the University has been offered huge sums of money to sell the frequency to religious broadcasters. I guess if they bring in a guy who destroys what good is at the station that decision becomes a no-brainer?

Regarding the University's disappointment in the last few fundraisers, HELLO! It's called a "recession." Fund raising is down everywhere. People have lost jobs, and homes - surely you've heard that news.

Hopefully, a TJU alum who has done well will make the station his or her estate's beneficiary - which accounts for not a small percentage of how the University at large raises money. It would be nice to see the fund raising arm of the University, which is awesome and productive, lend a hand to the little radio station that has been severely underfunded for 20 years and has to scrimp and save to get CD players fixed.

Dj's wanted change
manager proposed a plan
Dj's screech like libs

Mike Friend wrote:

I was on the air at WTJU for years, and could make it thru my show just fine, thank you, without playing a single non-p.c. corporate rock track.

One would naturally take "for years" to mean at the very least five or six. To my recollection, it was one or two, at most. As for his bragging about not play non-p.c. corporate rock tracks, well, his show was just random stuff from the current bin. Since the rock directors had already weeded out corporate rock before it made it to the current bin, his claim is without merit.

He came to WTJU wanting to take it over and change it. He didn't get his way, and started WRNR.

Thank god he didn't get his way.


Analogy (hypothetical):

My ankle hurt after I twisted it.
My doctor proposed removing my leg, immediately.
I was rightfully upset.

"Style is originality; fashion is fascism. The two are eternally and unalterably opposed." -- Lester Bangs.

WTJU = "style."

WNRN = "fashion."

Each has its place, but you would not have what's popular, profitable, without the sensibilities that develop over time as they do, and have, at WTJU. I'd like to believe that the mid 80s (when I was at UVA) was the heyday of WTJU but I've listened to too many shows from new announcers, in years after, to believe that.

Hopes, prayers that UVA will let WTJU remain itself. You can't put a price tag on the value of listening to a certain song like you can put a price tag on, say, a lacrosse-game ticket. But the value is still there, and WTJU has produced a great deal of talent, attention, and goodwill for the University over a long period of time that the branding/marketing professionals likely cannot quantify, though it is out there.

(Nice to listen to "Cut Your Hair" on NRN -- nicer, still, to have someone in another country ask, "The University of Virginia...isn't that where the Happy Flowers were?")

Laura Anderson Hendell


Cry me a river
Bring something to the table
Good fortune with plan

Nice post Laura and a very trenchant analysis of the two paths.

That really hits it on the head. And I wish instead of ragging on Mike "C" for playing "Children of Nickelback" that I'd said this:

I don't mind listening to music that I don't like and won't ever like. I actually seek this out on WTJU and other places, provided that what I'm listening is what somewhat really felt as an artistic statement. I might regard some of it as unskilled or noisy, but if it's something that came from the heart it's instructive to hear it and pay attention to it, even if it's not ear candy. This is why I love WTJU. I'm constantly exposed to new, vibrant artistic output.

What prompts a vitriolic response from me is when I listen to music and it's redolent of the desire to "make it" rather than produce a sincere musical statement; groups or single artists that are driven by the desire to achieve pop celebrity, usually with some sort of svengali figure(s) lurking in the background. And I've sensed enough of this type of musical offering and slavish dependence upon it on WNRN to want to call you on it.

The difference between these musical approaches is analogous to that between pornography and love-making. The former is so gross and profane precisely because it preserves the hollow form of the latter. And because the latter is sublime. Admittedly this is a very subjective thing, yet like Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart said with regard to pornography: "I know it when I see [hear] it".

What does this have to do with WTJU? This radio station has ALWAYS represented sincere passion for music even when it stumbles. And if a management strategy thwarts this they'll discover that there are more than 7,500 people who really care about it.

Maybe this has been a necessary barn fire.


The staff were not afforded an opportunity to bring something to the table; decisions were made with no input from the staff. When drastic changes were announced, albeit in a piecemeal fashion, as coming almost immediately, staff was understandably upset.

so, new analogy:

My ankle hurt after I twisted it.
My doctor scheduled my leg for amputation the next day, without telling me until I was about to be be escorted to the operating room.
I was rightfully upset

sam - I know redwhiteblue has mischaracterized what's going on. And "scream like libs"? Please, why not "scream like bakers" while you're at it? It's just as relevant to this conversation.

Lightning Baltimore's analogy is spot on. Yesterday at the Advisory Board meeting there were numerous admissions that the way the volunteers was kept in the dark was not the way to go. Be sure that there will be more such meetings tonight. Also, Carol Wood (board member) of the Office of Public Affairs, which has oversight of WTJU, said in exactly the same words three times at that meeting, "I'm completely in favor of transparency", and then expressed the same feeling at least twice more in other words. Tonight will be an opportunity for her to prove just how complete that belief in transparency is and she should be challenged on it. Whatever lies down the road for 'TJU, if the same opaqueness is employed with any information important to the volunteers, you will likely see a repeat of the current drama. This isn't a threat but a fear based on logic and observation. Einstein said to do the same thing over and over and expect a different result each time is the definition of insanity. Let's hope the powers that be heed those words.

@Laura - he's on Facebook. He comes up first in a search.

Since WTJU is a college radio station (owned by the University) shouldn't its mission be to give CURRENT students a chance to learn radio broadcasting? I think it's interesting that some folks have had a show for 20 years, but doesn't that take away from the current students?

With today's technology, you can do your own radio show on the internet so that your friends can listen to your show if they want to. Or just invite them over to your house to listen.

And before all of the long-time DJs get their voices up, this is not your station. You are a volunteer.

I did college radio as a freshman and had a show for four years. I used that to launch a successful career in radio, both as a dj and then as a news reporter. But I made sure that the next generation of students got their chance at my University. You should do the same.

Reality Check

Hey! Anyone who wants to put in CONSTRUCTIVE input that the high-ups at WTJU/UVA are much more likely to listen to - go here:


I was a local DJ at WELK 1010 AM in 1972 in Charlottesville and roomed on campus with a bunch of guys. WELK was a daytime only station, licensed for sunrise to sunset broadcasts only. At night I would hang out at WTJU. On Halloween of that year they let me run and host a nighttime Halloween show that included a live remote broadcast from a local graveyard by a local fraternity. I think it was the TKE's. It was a wild keg party and a hell of a lot of fun to have been a part of to broadcast on my Halloween show.

This is what free form broadcasting is all about, INDIVIDUALITY, especially on a college station. It is a memory I will always cherish.

I am saddened that the great "W Thomas Jefferson University" will soon be reduced to probably reading cards and playing top 40.

What the hells the reason for having a college station if you can't provide individuality on your show?

There is no reason at all.

IWTB you can be as snarky as you want about WNRN and Mike C (whose show is one of the reason I don't listen to WNRN in drive time) the fact reminds they have built something with many less assets than WTJU. There is ZERO reason with the University's decades of support that WTJU shouldn't be better off. They have squandered a golden opportunity that will never come again. It's stunning that many DJ's couldn't or wouldn't see this day of reckoning coming. IWTB they don't need your money they get mine and many, many others

WNRN is master of its own fate- their morning program with Anne Williams has the kind of programming variety and fan base that WTJU should have worked for. WTJU needs to get rid of about 80% of its DJ's right now. While they might not want to play the same songs having the same person on ever day at the same time would work wonders.

Do they really think that I'm going to change my schedule to listen to the one DJ who plays what I like Tuesday at 8 and only Tuesday at 8?

WTJU actually has DJ's that travel from Northern Va to play there once a week program that no one listen to- why? If WTJU had raised the money to have the station run on its own I wouldn't care but they only have wonderful and "eclectic" music because they didn't have to pay for their navel gazing indulgence.

UVa is a public school supported by tax payer dollars and WTJU is the public airwaves. I don't feel in this time of serious government cuts that I need to have my taxes go to a radio club of earnest but clueless folks who want to have others pay for their radio hobby. It's time for Darwin laws to be allowed to take effect. Evolve or die WTJU, taxpayers and the University shouldn't pay for your party anymore.

St. Halsey, do you really think that unpaid DJs would be willing, not to mention able, to do a show every day?

Screw the volunteers. Strike? How about get lost and make way for people ready to embrace the future. Indie public radio is knee-deep in crap because of old minds coddling antiquated ideas. Give 'Em hell, Burr!

Wtju is a crucial part of this towns stellar music scene. It is true, that if u have to ask, you'll never know.
Most volunteers at the teej agree change is necessary, but its the way n which this change is being implemented. Djs come in, to b told this will b your last show. These changes are being dictated, not discussed, and that's the problem. Thomas Jefferson is disgusted I promise you that.

We'll wait and see .... but if what I think happens does, our long on going underwritership will end. We will really miss our TJU.

@St. Halsey --Agreed Anne Williams presents a standout show (and probably why I'll still contribute despite gritting my teeth every late afternoon that I make the mistake of turning to 91.9). And Rhonda Chollock, Melissa Goode, and Jerry ? who did "Late for Work" all present(ed) good shows.

And TJU in the weekday afternoons is the Twilight Zone (I still like it though). But the jazz programming, classical programming, and folk programming are solid, and Reggae Vibrations with Goldfinger is as good as it gets.

Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

The comments here about having the volunteers read Who Moved My Cheese and about the need for "professional" sounding announcers are telling. I'm a little shocked how much the criticism of TJU here assumes a priori that an organization that is not run like a for profit corporation, and entertains the same goals as one (maximizing market share and making rather than losing money) has no right to exist. There are already for profit stations on the air in our community, and those stations have professional (and professional sounding) announcers. In fact, virtually every station in our community *except* TJU fits this description, and I include NRN (and increasingly, NPR affiliates). Such stations are nominally non-commercial, but have adopted many of the strategies of commercial radio because, as objectivist John Gault points out, "you have to pay the bills."

I'm certainly not saying that every station should be run at a loss, playing music nobody wants to hear (including me, most of the time), but I think it's tragic that people here are so sure there isn't room even for one station to present programing so weird that it can't possibly pay for itself. Does everything really have to be a business? Should the English department be shut down because it doesn't turn a profit? Is college radio really a bigger drain on your tax dollars than the supposedly profitable oil or defense industries?

The notion that radio programming should be subject to some kind of Darwinian logic seems to say not just that, indeed, that if nobody is getting rich of an organization or a practice than it needs to die off and make room for something that will make somebody rich. It also suggests, and this is really a paraphrase of that last point, that human beings should not be held to a moral standard higher than the one to which animals are held. To my mind, the mere fact that music exists at all is proof that, as a species, our concerns can and should rise above the satisfaction of material needs. If the detractors here are really committed to a darwinian program I guess that's their choice, but they should be prepared to say goodbye not just to WTJU but to the entire University, and eventually to art and education themselves. These things won't disappear in this century, but they will disappear eventually if we stay on this path, in which the number of listeners and the amount of money coming in are the seen as the only metrics of a NON-COMMERCIAL radio stations success.

So you can only stand listening to radio announcers that sound professional to you. Fine. There are like a dozen stations in this area that will be perfect for you. I don't see why it should bother you so much that out of everything on the air one station is has announcers whose only credential is their love of music.

I think what the volunteers are objecting to is not just the changes to their relationships with the station, or the unfathomable lack of gratitude shown for what have been in some cases decades of committed, uncompensated labor. The changes to TJU seem to be symptoms of a larger shift in our culture, an increasingly unashamed belief that if nobody will pay for a thing then it's worthless -- that market value is the only kind value that should affect our decisions. As soon as we let ourselves think this way, we have ceased to regard ourselves as fully human.

St. Halsey: If what you say were true, than there would be no reason for tax dollars to subsidize anything. People would just go out and buy the things they wanted, and only things that could find a paying audience would exist. Taxes (and I don't know how much of TJU's operating budget comes from the University, but I know only a tiny percentage of UVa's budget comes from taxes) only exist to support things that cannot be sustained in a marketplace.

This may seem elitist to you, but if it does I hope you're equally prepared to object to the existence of the University, whose services are only available to the few who get in, or for that matter the public high schools, which, after all, only benefit people between the ages of 14 and 18.

Your point about the public airwaves would only make sense if those airwaves were crowded with non-commercial stations, and the one committed for profit station was in danger of being shut down. Whose interests are served if TJU becomes another NRN? The NRN listeners already have an NRN. All that would happen would be that the TJU listeners wouldn't have anything to listen to on the radio. TJU would have far more listeners than it does now, but the net number of people well-served by the public airwaves would be diminished by about 7,500.

I am perplexed by all of these comments about WTJU afternoon DJs operating in a "twilight zone" and playing music nobody wants to hear. The cheers of "Go get em Burr" and the general good riddance element to some of these comments is pretty telling, especially in a town that has WNRN and the Corner already.

Afternoon DJs at WTJU typically play records that go on to become critically acclaimed and often commercially successful months or years before a station like WNRN will touch them. On top of this, they often have relationships with respected independent labels because of their commitment to playing these records when no one else saw the value.

A short list of places worked and accomplishents achieved by WTJU alumni, just from the Rock Department, tells you all you need to know: They have written for The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Spin, Details, Pitchfork, and countless other respected media outlets; made TV appearances as expert commentators; started well-respected record labels, primarily Jagjaguwar (which, while obscure to some, put out the highly-regarded Bon Iver record and the last Dinosaur Jr. album, high achievements), but other great labels as well; written best-selling books; started influential and successful bands; and, perhaps most importantly, booked shows for and supported countless bands, big and small, in an effort to keep live music vital in Charlottesville.

I understand that times are changing, but in what cultural climate are those standards and achievements not deemed noteworthy or valuable?

To compare WTJU and WNRN/other stations is OK, but you must understand that the criteria are in no way similar. WNRN has been wildly successful, and for that they should be applauded: it is a difficult business to make profitable, as noted by the many commercial stations in town that change formats every couple of years.

What is the real issue here is what is deemed of "value" to a community. The kind of community that I would like to live in would treasure the kind of effort that the DJs at WTJU champion, not belittle it.

Sam, your reductive argument that taxes should subsidize anything isn't remotely what I said. It's this subsidy I have an issue with. I have others as well but let's talk about this one. Creating a educated member of society is a bit more important than playing other people music, don't you think? That "tiny" amount of University subsidy by the government is multiple millions of dollars every year- don't argue that percentage nonsense.

I LOVE that my tax dollars got to educating people- it's a core mission of government and well worth the investment. Can you say the same about subsidizing one of many radio stations? That's before the music now provide by the internet would more than make up for WTJU's demise.

The most bewildering claim is when you try and make your point with the University and it's admission policy. They are selective to produce the best and they are one of the nation's finest at what they do. Can you remotely make this claim about WTJU?

You sound like someone defending the need for better Opera house at the turn of the century. The public made another choice in the arts and the opera house went the way of the dodo.

"I LOVE that my tax dollars got to educating people- it’s a core mission of government and well worth the investment. Can you say the same about subsidizing one of many radio stations?"


Funding for the arts has long been considered a legitimate, worthy public investment. The National Endowment for the Arts and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting are just two government entities that come to mind.

Mike Friend's comments have hit the nail on the head.

"My point here is that WTJU has no one, except maybe this new manager, who I have yet to meet, who understands this medium."

I once managed a college radio station in Massachusetts. I came from a Top 40 background. At a campus station, that felt like evil lurking. I also knew that the station, like other college radio stations, not only was/is non-commercial, but offered up more programming options than its commercial neighbors.

With that, I developed a plan. It would be tightly-formatted from 6a-6p. And from 6p-12m (when the station signed-off), it would be free-form.

What I was trying to do was to compromise in terms of showing the ropes to the staff and still potentially having a winning combination. For those students who were really interested in pursuing a career in commercial broadcasting, I suggested that they might consider working the daytime shift that called for less talk and more music. Those who wanted to play favorite album cuts (yeah, so I'm dating myself) might be better off doing it at night.

For the most part, it worked. And the feedback was decent.

"Gee, my roommate listened to me this morning and she heard me play her favorite song."

Having said that, college radio is basically, sad to say, a joke. There are just a handful of college stations around the country that know how to do it. For the rest, it is simply play radio for those who believe they'll soon make it big or who are somehow deluded into thinking that their special niche program will soar above the clouds. There will always be a spot for such air product, but frankly, the listeners aren't there in many cases to keep it viable.

And this is especially true today given what consumer choices there are for music and other types of programming. Ask anyone attending college whether they listen to their campus station and see how they react. You already know what the answer is.

For those at the staff disgusted by what's taking place, I feel your pain. And you're right. Internal communications could be better. That seems to be a major issue no matter the industry. You, perhaps, could have fit in nicely with my college's nighttime alternative programming.

I doubt, however, that a station staff revolt will spark much, if any, uproar within the community.

St. Halsey, please see my comments above in regards to your comments:

"They are selective to produce the best and they are one of the nation’s finest at what they do. Can you remotely make this claim about WTJU?"

I should also have brought up that Corey Harris, recipient of the MacArthur grant, subject of the Martin Scorsese documentary "The Blues", has hosted shows on WTJU. I am not sure what your criteria are, but regardless of the profitability of WTJU, many of the DJs, past and present, could be considered some of the best at what they do.

When did former alternative music lover & WTJU rock director Maynard Sipe become board Chairman of WNRN?

To GaryFloyd et al.,

I actually served several terms as Station Manager and Program Director for WTJU in the 1980's and was a fairly constant member of the voluteer management back when WTJU was run entirely by a volunteer association independent of the University. During that timeframe, the station was self-governing and self-supporting (with the sole exception that the University provided space rent-free). WTJU's listenership was several times greater when it was volunteer managed than it has been over recent years (and correspondingly, fundraisers were much more sucessful than recent ones). I would ascribe this prior success to solid management, programming and music direction which kept the station in tune with its listenership, while still allowing djs wide latitude in programming their own shows. In fact, I was the last Program Director to make any significant changes to the programming schedule - a schedule which the station has largely uncritically adhered to since, despite changes in listener tastes, the radio market and other factors.

As for WNRN, I was one of its founders and am proud that WNRN has been able to operate as one of few truly independent, non-university affiliated, non-profit, non-commercial radio stations in the country that offers programming other than the traditional NPR format. Most of the credit for WNRN's striking success is due to General Manager Mike Friend's hard work and shear enthusiasm for non-commercial radio. While some may view WNRN's programming as less "eclectic" than WTJU's, it nonetheless sucessfully serves a large audience providing a much needed (and listener-loved) alternative to commercial radio offerings.

In conclusion I would add that I'm still an "alternative music lover" and a WTJU listener (as well as a WNRN listener).

- Maynard

Corey Harris got a MacArthur for playing his music not for being a DJ- I'll wager his playing on the downtown mall had more to do with his sucess then his stint as a DJ. If one of these WTJU DJ's is so good (they have some good ones) then give them more shows not just once a week. Most appointment radio is dead.

I'm not saying that WTJU has to make a profit either but they should at least pull their own weight. The DJ's are really not artist - they provide a place for artist to play. Radio is more like an audio museum where others work are displayed - DJ's are docents not artist.

So there are a bunch of people complaining about proposed changes?

I am sad to see that this is being dragged out in public. There is no class in handling things this way, no matter how justified the DJs think they are. They are obviously more interested in complaining to an audience than in looking at the big picture and doing what they can to steer things to the best conclusion.

I have listened to WTJU since about 1984, and I like that it is alternative and on the edge. But the staff has completely overreacted, and the fact that there is a DJ with a blog, airing everything out in public, is completely inexcusable. In the real world one would not expect to keep their job after doing such things, and rightly so. Every establishment has its times that things could run better. In most cases, the people involved are professional enough to handle it without worrying the stockholders. In this case, the DJs seem to have handled things about as unprofessionally as they could have.

I say clean house and hire talented staff who know how to operate as a member of a collective, and not hire attention seekers who make situations like this worse. This is completely the fault of those who took this information public and blew it up, rather than try to handle it internally.

@St Halsey: You're dead wrong here: "DJ’s are docents not artist"

DJ's would be more accurately compared to curators in your analogy. DJ's are (or at least were) instrumental in getting new music out to be heard. Dude get a little historical background. Google Alan Freed for starters. This doesn't mean that all the DJ's are WTJU are good or influential. But that's what the role at least used to be all about, as opposed to voiceover provided as local color for canned playlists.

"Win a $100!!!! Be the first caller when you hear Nickelback on WNRN..." (This should make for a l-o-n-g listen.)

'spose it would asking to much if people commenting actually listened to WNRN.....On the other hand some of the other posts seem to indicate quite a bit of listening to us....interesting indeed.

I really don't find it to surprising that WTJU listeners like WTJU
better than WNRN...WWWV listeners probably like that station best, and think both NRN & TJU are too "out there" This is why radios are tuenable.

Hey TJU fans, y'all have a problem, and some real enemies...but they aren't at WNRN. If anything, the more mainstream approach we have has probably deflected unwelcome attention away from your programming for the last decade. There is a symbiotic relationship between these two stations (which results in choices for the audience, including me). Please look elsewhere for who is disturbing it.

re:Mike Friend I found your explanation about WTJU informative, and you are certainly knowledgeable, but was it really necessary to question my intelligence in this forum? I am hurt that you singled me out in your diatribe. I am college educated, have a good job and have been a frequent contributor to both WNRN and WTJU. I'm Not Einstein but I certainly have a right to my opinion. To support my case I will comment on the following quotes:
ââ?¬Å?Radio’s strong point is repetition,” This is Certainly embraced by Clear Channel type stations. Is it not?
ââ?¬Å?That’s why commercials are repeated so often." This certainly speaks to the perceived intelligence of the listener by radio management, including Clear Channel and apparently you.
I like WTJU because of it's DJ's and lack of repetition.
I get the feeling that you don't think much of your listeners except during marathons. I already know what you think of me. That's okay though I've cut my last check to WNRN. Obviously, You don't need contributors with a lack of intelligence like me.

I have not listened to music on the radio for 10 years. I have Slacker and Pandora playing through my Roku Player and streaming through my Sony Blueray player as well. In the car I have XM and my iPod. The way people listen to music has changed through iTunes, iPods, XM and the Internet. If any of these stations want to remain alive, they need to give us something we cannot get somewhere else. Enertain us with interviews and live stuff we cannot get somewhere else. You can't lose money these days and expect to remain solid. I'd rather give my extra money to feed people instead of giving it to bad businessmen hipsters... :)

I grew up here and have given money to both stations.

I meant entertain us! Sorry for the typo

Huh? What? I just re-read both of my posts...I don't see any questioning of anybody's intelligence in either one, plus I don't know who you are...You may be confusing another's post, unless you are taking offense to the "repetition" quote from Mr. Beard.

"Radio's strong point is repetition" is not my quote, and not something I would ever say, as I believe repetition is a tool, more useful for some kinds of radio than others, and not particularly useful for TJU-type stations. Please don't attribute things to me that I did not say, and, further, don't nec. even agree with.

As I said earlier, between WTJU total lack of repetition and CC's
75+ plays a week, there is room for a MILD rotation, like ours.

Methinks equating hearing a song a couple of times in a week to insulting your (or anyone's) intelligence (if that's the issue) is a bit thin, but apologies if offended.


okay Mike, I'll help you out here: From your first post:
"Comments like, ââ?¬Å?oh WTJU is going Clear-Channel” reflect upon the intelligence of the commenter: A Clear Channel rock station will play a song 75 times a week, we may play it 12 times, I would expect a WTJU rotation to be less than that”Š"
And yes I am offended, and as a "customer" I expect better. As a listener and contributor I have other options. I am reasonably intelligent and I'll miss WTJU, and WNRN.
Best Wishes

Let me get this straight. Listenership is down, so the new station director is implementing a known failed strategy. The same strategy that Cumulus and Clear Channel and other commercial models used to run their systems into bankruptcy. If that's so, welcome to the old music industry paradigm, the one that is, as I type, taking down the corporate heads who think that proven failure can be turned around by regimentation. Beard and Anderfuren, if you think repetition and accessibility is the key, take a look at the 'successful' model of the various corporate-owned stations and ask yourself if that is what you want for the station's future. The answer might be more in the way of public responsibility and creativity. Think you not?

Question Mark (you have no Mysterians in tow today?): Your comment that "You can't lose money today and expect to remain solid" hits the nail on the head. You can't, even though in the recent past you could, and that's a serious problem for everybody. If you have ever liked even one rock song that was produced by a band or performer born after 1960, then your life has been enriched by college and community radio. DJs may not meet everybody's definition of artist, but they have been invaluable and irreplaceable players in a culture that fosters artistic exploration. You don't need actually to like (or even have heard of) Pavement or Yo La Tengo to understand that college radio in general, and WTJU in particular, has enriched our collective musical heritage in ways that you can't, and shouldn't, try to put a price on. If college radio doesn't play music you like right now, it's probably because it plays the music you will like twenty years from now, or, at least, the music now loved by the people who, twenty years from now, will be your favorite new songwriters.

As for this: "In the real world one would not expect to keep their job after doing such things, and rightly so. Every establishment has its times that things could run better. In most cases, the people involved are professional enough to handle it without worrying the stockholders. In this case, the DJs seem to have handled things about as unprofessionally as they could have."

Ever sentence here can be paraphrased as follows: "I resent the fact that WTJU is not run like a business. I resent the fact that it is staffed by volunteers who are not professionals, do not want to be professionals, and thus do not act like professionals. I resent the fact that WTJU is not beholden to stock holders, and that its announcers are motivated by a love of the music they play rather than a fear of getting fired or a desire to get rich. In short, I resent the fact that there is even one organization in our community that does not have to play by the rules of the business world."

I just looked at WTJU's annual report 2008-09. None of their money comes from taxes. About half of it comes from the University, and all of that is from student activities fees. It is true that they posted a significant loss (in the neighborhood of $20K) and that might have come partly out of tax dollars, but even if the entire budget for the entire station for the entire year, including all expenses of any kind, had been paid by state taxes, the total each person would pay for the year would be 4 cents. Just think! If you lived to be 72 that would mean that you'd have paid almost $3 for a mere lifetime of WTJU! (Again, that would be if 100% of the station's budged came from taxes, when according to their report 0% of it does.)

St. Halsey: I'm not sure why the University admissions committee can be trusted to select the best and the brightest but TJU can't. I can't tell if your deploring the programmers' choice of DJs or the DJs choice of songs. If its the former, love of music is really the only criterion, and I remain convinced that there should be at least one radio station where that rule holds. If you are bothered by mumbling, you have many options elsewhere on the dial. People who like mumbling only have this one. If you mean, though, that the DJs are more careless in choosing songs than the admissions people are in choosing first years, I have to disagree with you. I teach at UVa, and I used to DJ at TJU (though I've been unconnected with the station, even as a listener, for many years now). Most of the time, far more care goes into sequencing a play list than, at least from what I can tell in the classroom, goes into choosing the incoming undergraduates.

I concur in your support for public education, but I have to insist that WTJU's programming is part of the university's educational mission, and one of the few ways in which it has fully and successfully partnered students and community members. It is precisely because UVa offers WTJU (along with many other things, like the university orchestra), and is (or was) willing to subsidize it when no one else who could would, that the charge of elitism in the distribution of its educational resources doesn't apply to it.

The extinction of opera houses does seem to me a real tragedy. I am an avid opera listener at home, and I've never actually seen one on stage. We are a poorer country for the loss, both musically and architecturally. What worries me more, though, is that if we were having this conversation in the year 2110, I'd be bemoaning the loss of the public education, and you'd be comparing me to those bleeding-hearts who tried to save community radio.

The consensus among the TJU detractors here seems to be that no endeavor, no matter how noble, is worth undertaking unless it a) can be made economically self-sufficient or, b) benefits every taxpayer in obvious, direct, and near-term ways. I doubt you can be stopped, but I hope you can be stalled. You are building a world not even you will find habitable.

so this isn't surprising, for an organization to be facing change, and instead of handling the change appropriately, to freak out and quit and rant about it on their blog.

I feel bad for the new guy, I bet nobody warned him that he was going to be working with a bunch of children.

For the staff to reacct the way they did - to preemptively quit is pretty silly, and to blog about everything is a little self-important.

If the system does not work, then by all means one should take measures to not be trodden upon - but plan A being to react like petulant children is pretty sad, and reflects poorly upon everyone involved.

Right on Sam!!!

And Mike "C" if you posted playlists anymore on the WNRN website I'd be happy to point out specific musical examples that are nothing but maladjusted post-adolescent white boy rant with cymbal wash mixed as an additional band member, the ones that some LA sleazeballs have decided that you and other minions will play in the evening traffic shows. Sorry you're not up to parsing the literal vs. figurative with regard to Nickelback references.

However if you just dropped the inane commentary on the "bank robber who phoned to say he left his car keys at the counter" type of story, I'd probably stop kvetching. I just hate that crap so much it makes me want to attack even though you're obviously a dedicated radio guy (but if that means playing the newest corporate rock why bother?).

I don't judge the music...I play it....Sorry you're not up to parsing the difference between what broadcast professionals do, and what volunteer announcers at a college radio station do.

I was on the air at WTJU for years, and could make it thru my show just fine, thank you, without playing a single non-p.c. corporate rock track. That was when I was a 20-something grad student...now I run a business that, for better, or worse, can't be run like that. Sorry, I didn't create the world around us.

The insulting characterization of what amounts to simply "music you don't like" says about all that needs to be said...The inverse relationship between musical(and other artistic) sophistication and tolerance for the tastes of others is, frankly, really ugly, and probably accounts for your lack of a sense of humor...

...and to offended "WTJU Fan," uh, didn't you kinda/sorta forget to address the substance of the tongue-in-cheek, indirect "intelligence" reference: That there IS a difference between the 70-80 spins of a tune per week at CC, and whatever slight rotation TJU's guy might be thinking of....a difference that could make your remark a bit, say, exaggerated.

I haven't followed the link above concerning a delay of the changes, but as I said before, nobody here is your enemy and I personally hope TJU can continue to fill its niche in the future...One would just hope the dedicated TJU volunteers and friends can respect others' tastes and preferences as much as they do their own.

The funniest thing to me about WTJU has always been its claim of being a college radio station, with next to no student participation, a feat rare all across this great land since it's pretty well-known that having community members volunteer instead of students kind of tends to lock in the former, who ain't going nowhere, and box out the latter as DJs and staffers.

If the volunteers truly want to do a community service, start their own non-comm just like Mike Friend did with WNRN, and leave the students something that they can mess up and embarrass everyone with their incompetence and occasional brilliance just like almost every other university. That's called education.

Oh, and don't pay anybody anything. That's another little-known norm that tends to keep costs low and affordable.

My name is Tyler. I'm the guy who started the blog. The reason I started the blog was so that the entire WTJU community, listeners and volunteers, could be apprised of the same information. While I am against WTJU becoming an AAA station, especially in a small market in which WNRN is a 900-pound gorilla and The Corner is a 200-pound chimp, I believe that I have been presenting the information without comment.

That WTJU needs to become more self-sufficient has been known to any volunteer for years. No-one is denying that. What we had a problem with was the way and speed with which things were proceeding. What truly lacked class what the way information was being withheld.

I was a WTJU DJ and one of the first Hip-Hop Dj's in this City, from 1988-1992, and I was 14. I am a native of this city, and I grew up hanging out at WTJU. It seems to me the WTJU volunteers are the ones that are willing to come to a common ground, and have been caught off guard. It also seems most people are not as informed as they need to be, or would like to be.
I feel a city is defined by its culture and WTJU has a rich history in Charlottesville. Charlottesville, in my opinion does not however have a deep culture as it has mostly been transient. I am thankful I was allowed to play some of the songs I played back then on WTJU. I know TJ would have approved of some of my song selections protesting the PMRC etc. That is the type of value you would miss if you had set playlists, which breed non-creative playlists. Believe me I will make you the proper mix tape, word up! And I understand set playlists to be one of the major issues.
Like I said I am from this city and quite frankly am sick of the assimilating and gentrification of everything that is Charlottesville. We need more of the same like we need new bricks, Halsey's failed erection, and more Subarus. I would like this new Director to look at classic stations like WKCR, OZ etc. and maybe he can gleem some ideas from them.

Well Mike there's certainly a bit of "I personally don't like it" in the descriptions of your show. But do note the posts where I say that I listen to WTJU Rock shows with the intention of hearing the music I'd never even know about much less choose to listen to.

The issue here is WTJU, and I've strayed from that to attack your show. But this was prompted by your long diatribe about "the broadcast biz" with the peremptory tone. As a competitor of sorts you're better off disqualifying yourself and sitting back.

After all, based on your comments below, it would appear that you think that it's OK to be musical "selfish" and competitors are bad for radio choice:


"But Friend warns NRN fans who also listen to The Corner not to stray for too long.

'Now, when people stop at the stoplight, they have two choices," says Friend. "Realizing entertainment is a selfish choice, people should be careful what they wish for. They may have no choices later.'"

FYI: http://www2.dailyprogress.com/cdp/news/local/article/university_postpone...

Programming/formatting changes to WTJU have been postponed at least until the end of the summer; a blog will launch today for the public (the listeners!) to weigh in. Hopefully some of the input will be less negative than a lot of what I've read on here LOL

As DJ "Brother Jimmy the Truth" would say, I'm one of WTJU's loyal Seven thousand five hundred "expendable listeners".

Loyal Charlottesville & now global listeners, have contributed their money to the station for many, many years. We have always considered WTJU a community radio station, not a college station.

I foolishly gave money to WNRN last year. I will never make that mistake again. Mike Friend's premature & ill advised attempt to dance on the grave of WTJU has permanently destroyed any good will I had towards his station.

We, the community, look forward to attending WTJU's July open house meeting with constructive input.

All I have to say is there are better Skynyrd songs than "Sweet Home Alabama," there are better Nirvana songs than "Teen Spirit", there are better rap songs than Lil Boo Boo and Flip Flip doing "Da Nasty Skip", there are better Led Zepplin songs than the ones that keep getting played my whole fricken life on some local stations. That is why WTJU matters.

I agree 100% with every word that this person below posted!
Bob June 22nd, 2010 | 11:44 pm
The funniest thing to me about WTJU has always been its claim of being a college radio station, with next to no student participation, a feat rare all across this great land since it’s pretty well-known that having community members volunteer instead of students kind of tends to lock in the former, who ain’t going nowhere, and box out the latter as DJs and staffers.

If the volunteers truly want to do a community service, start their own non-comm just like Mike Friend did with WNRN, and leave the students something that they can mess up and embarrass everyone with their incompetence and occasional brilliance just like almost every other university. That’s called education.

Oh, and don’t pay anybody anything. That’s another little-known norm that tends to keep costs low and affordable.

Sometimes this is like beating your head repeatedly against a wall, but here goes.

nbc29fan and others, I am not sure what amount of money you imagine that WTJU is siphoning off from some other UVA institution, but this is generally not the point. Would you like to cut an athletics team that no one goes to watch or that only a handful of students participate in. Do you believe that, although the music department is small and does not attract an extremely large amount of students to the University that it should also be cut, or denied resources and utitlities? Where does it stop. Do you start tracking which departments at the University graduate students who go on to contribute money to the University in the future and only foster those departments? I hope not.

Most of the DJs I have met, and I was a former DJ as well, are either directly involved with the University or were at one point in their lives. Most of them are former UVA students, and were DJs while they were students. Some of them keep doing shows well into adulthood because they love it. I understand that WTJU may not make sense to everyone, and it can be an easy target, but so much of the criticism here is way off base. It won't stop of course, as if you want to disparage WTJU you obviously have your reasons, but most of the criticism is just projection. Whom at WTJU is getting paid to do what they are doing other than the 3-4 people who handle all of the business? None. 0. Nada. If you are criticizing these DJs, please list all of the things in your life that you are doing for free and we will have an opportunity to then pass judgment on you. I do not say this to provoke, as I am sure many of you do good things for your community, but I only ask that you think a little harder about the stones you are casting.

Emmett - I'd encourage you to attend the meeting tomorrow night in any case. The Advisory Board meeting today seemed to offer LIMITED hope for improvement in the situation. There was more information about what to expect tomorrow and some concrete goals for the first time. We volunteers have two months now that we didn't have before to have our voices heard. We should take advantage of that time to put our money where our mouths are. There will be some good ideas on the podium tomorrow, some not so good, some I'm too dumb to understand. We should all be there tomorrow night to give a good, honest listen to what Carol, Marian and Burr have to say. I'm not saying we'll like it or it'll be all good, but when we argue (which we obviously will), it'll be better to know exactly what we're arguing against.

I'm maybe the first one to resign as a dj from WTJU as a result of the current debacle. I echo everything that Emmett said in his post. People have said...well maybe there's somewhere else for you in radio in C'ville, to which i say, fat chance. WNRN? Forget it! Have you seen the sign in WNRN studios which says words to the effect 'leave your cell phone on & get a call while you're on air, you're fired'....sign of yet another petty dictatorship as opposed to professionalism.

But i digress.

UVA made a disastrous choice for new WTJU GM in Burr Beard, and have now had to call a 2 month delay in implementing any plan, because he and they botched things so badly. The guy should be at a minimum on probation, and be given sensitivity training. He was welcomed into the WTJU community with, i would say, general goodwill if not open arms, & before having even met a good chunk of his volunteer workforce what did he do? He tried to impose his own plan, without consultation with his arguably greatest asset, his passionate volunteers, (or he would have done if he himself hadn't leaked half or less of the plan, sowing untold confusion & uproar), tried to push people around, intimidate them into silence( "Please remove your WTJU dirty laundry from Facebook or risk losing any association with WTJU", "Now I'm going to ask you to cease and desist, Mr. quitter"), and invalidate one of the major tenets of WTJU's existing ethos (ie no playlists) into the bargain.

What a disaster! He must have sold his hirers a good line on what a great manager he was.

Pete Marshall
Former host,
Sunset Road
Fridays 5-7pm, on WTJU

My few cents: I think the pledge drive format is fatally flawed.
Simple reason: the regular programming is tossed and we get days of one style or group of music styles. THis is a surefire way to turn away the regular listeners who would dial in at their usual times.
Why not pledge driving with keeping the programming intact? That way you find out FAST which programs are popular and which are avoided by most. One program I truly despise: Rhythm and Romance in the morning, man that is music to put you to sleep! Better to move that one to a late night. Anne's and Grady's Jazz music picks are my favorite.

Ron_Jazzfan - we tried that a few years ago. It was a miserable failure. That's why we went back to genre-oriented fundraisers.

@BFD: Go troll somewhere else, jackass. If you'd been worth anything to listeners or the station, you would've been there consistently a DJ for the "on and off 30 years"....You just kinda nullified your own credibility. I know several DJ's personally, and I don't think a single one of them care about how cool they are, or how cool you think they're trying to be. Put aside your own insecurity for the sake of the music, why don't you?!

I was born here, raised here, learned to play music here, and learned to love music through wtju's programming. For me, this is one of the most awful things that's happened at WTJU since Dave Grant was ripped from our midst in 2002. Here's what I sent to the station in response to the "new direction" in station management:

To Burr Beard, and anyone else responsible for new station direction and commercialization:

Do you live to destroy the sonic joy that WAS wtju? Is Ken Cuccinelli your buddy? Do you expect every DJ to back up their listener data numbers? Whatever method you use to measure listener numbers is fatally flawed. If my name wasn't already in the list, you missed one. You'll also be missing my donation this year in your fund drive. First and most important to me for the purpose of this message, is Sunset Road. You have single handledly committed one of the most eggregious programming mistakes EVER! Not only have I been a dedicated listener of several programs for 20 years, I'm a lifetime resident, and have seen a lot of programs come and go. I'm a sax player who listens and PLAYS old time and folk music in addition to music "traditionally" associated with brass. Pete's was one of the shows that I looked forward to every week. I expect that a great number of other programs will also end if you don't seriously reconsider the approach. Though it may not have been your decision, and rather handed down from whomever at UVA determines station funding, you have a DUTY to listeners and YOURSELF to consider the local music community rather than how much money a given program "brings in" from pledges specifically from their listeners. Whatever radio experience you have in the past doesn't seem to apply to COMMUNITY RADIO. WTJU is, or rather was, something great. I hope that something can be saved from the pile of rubble that appears to completely, if not yet currently, will soon surround your "new direction" for the station.

Angry in Charlottesville

Teen Listener, it is very heartening and encouraging to see you chime in! Student involvement is strongly encouraged at WTJU, so if you are interested you should get in touch. There are always student DJs, especially in the Rock Department, and I met many great UVA students that became good friends while I was a DJ at WTJU. Keeping a radio station staffed with volunteers is a complicated thing, but shows and times slots come open every semester, so if you are interested you should let them know. The WTJU website should have all relevant contact info. One thing that is sure, whether the proposed changes come through or not, is that enthusiastic new volunteers are always beneficial to the station and greatly appreciated. My time spent at WTJU has led to some of the most rewarding experiences of my life.

See keeppublicradiopublic.com for information on this same battle being waged nationwide � in Austin, Boston, Seattle, Gainesville ... The bean counters are making the same arguments, using the same tactics, to homogenize your radio station with the same AAA tripe you can hear from a thousand stations. You will be assimilated into the borg. Don't drink the Kool-Aid, and don't give up the fight. You're not alone.

What Would John Beers Do?

Probably something obnoxious. I'm fairly certain I remember some people thinking he ran the rock department with an iron first and didn't care about or listen to what others had to say. I hope that's not the case.

No, that was not the case.

Oh, gosh. I was going to agree with the "probably something obnoxious part" -- but then (evidently) John Beers appears.

John, I'll never forget the wonderfully hot summer I spent in your bed on Harmon. It was perfect because all of those great records were right there, and the turntable, and you were conveniently on another continent....

Mike Friend wrote:
The purpose of this is not a ââ?¬Å?told you so” from a bygone era, but rather an attempt to put some perspective on what is happening.

Dear Mikey: How can not take this as an "I told you so" considering the fact that you've have quite a public feud (more like vendetta) against WTJU for quite a while now.

Laura Henderson Hendall wrote:
Can someone post a picture of Mike Friend, or mention when he was at the station? (I have no criminal intent”Šrather, just am confused. There were so many in the 80s..?)

I think you can go to the WNRN website and they've got pictures of the DJ's, but I don't think you can post it here, the Hook might deem it offensive material...

This fellow Buzz Beard (or Burr Beard?) wants repetition of playlists. When I listened to WTJU back in the 1980s some of the DJs didn't even announce of the names of the songs they had just played. I found this to be wonderful. Other deejays had great personalities. They were like big sisters or big brothers. Still others, I hated the very sound of their voice. I assume not of all of the deejays got along, or liked each other, or approved of the music the others played. This is what made the station great. Ferment, ferment and more ferment! You can't explain this to a corporate board, I suppose. But who cares? Oh Mr. Beard -- please go elsewhere. This is a college radio station, not a corporation. And UVA has enough money to support it if they want to -- my God, it is a school rolling in money. The station should be allowed to exist as it always did -- a place for experimentation, conflict, free-play -- etc.

Alfred Smith

This is Tyler. I'm a DJ who has been with WTJU for 15 years. This is in response to Julius.

Nobody, certainly not the DJs, are claiming that everything is going great. There is no denying that, with the downturn in the economy, pledges are going down just as they are for every radio station. We need more student involvement. We could certainly be better meeting the goals stated in our mission, which can be found at http://wtju.net/record/mission.

What most of the DJs believe is that the changes proposed by Mr. Beard and the Office of Public Affairs (his direct supervisors) will allow us to do so, and in fact, many of us believe that his proposed changes to the core philosophy will only hurt our chances to fulfill our mission.

Mr. Beard's proposal to move towards the formats of already existing stations in this super-saturated market is suicide. In a market of around 130,000 people (230th largest in America), we have 33 radio stations servicing the area. Almost every available formatting niche has already been filled, which is astounding for a market of our size. Trying to carve new listeners specifically out of another station's listenership at the expense of alienating the dedicated community of WTJU listeners can only fail tragically; Mr. Beard has stated specifically in meetings with DJs that he is willing to do exactly that. Like the dog on a bridge, barking at his reflection in a river and for his bone, he is willing in to lose what he has in the pursuit of more.

Why is he proposing such drastic measures, claiming that what we have tried hasn't worked when WE HAVEN'T TRIED ANYTHING YET? Give the station a chance to increase its listenership and its donor base without turning our back on our mission, before declaring that the station as it is has failed. Give us a chance to cure the disease without killing the patient.

WTJU needs to be fixed, not neutered.

Whoops, sent that to the wrong place. Damn web-savviness let me down.

Where were you trying to send that?

Oh, and good points, by the way.