WTJU: Alternative Radio in Charlottesville
By Julie Innes
WTJU, 91.3 FM in Charlottesville, Virginia is a non-commercial, listener-supported, community radio station, located in the basement of Peabody Hall, on the grounds of the University of Virginia. Its all-volunteer staff broadcasts 24 hours per day, 365 days per year (if all goes well). Programming includes classical music, rock, jazz, and folk, as well as news and public affairs (Tom Brannagan, "The Program Guide for Alternative music in Charlottesville, Va."). It is an educational radio station with five main objectives: (1) to present and support a wide and rich variety of quality music, often ignored because of mass-marketing and commercial interests. These alternative musics include classical, rock, jazz, and music of other cultures. (2) to expose new and innovative musicians and composers, but also to continue to remember traditional musical forms of the past. (3) to provide an outlet for knowledgeable people to share their musical interests with the community, and to provide the environment for members to continue to learn about music and therefore share with our listening community. (4) to provide information on community and international events. (5) to support alternative, live music in the community (WTJU Mission Statement).
In 1957, with this general idea in mind, engineering student Rowland Johnson sacrificed part of his honeymoon and, with his groomsmen’s' help, brought a "four ton second-hand transmitter" from Washington D.C. to Charlottesville, placing it on top of Old Cabell Hall. In those first few years, WTJU "could claim 'over one hundred listeners' from the twenty-five percent of the population owning FM radios" (Schedule Flyer, Brief Summary of the History of WTJU). The staff consisted of approximately forty people, broadcasting classical music and news to the Charlottesville community. Originally funded by Student Council, WTJU tried (and succeeded) in providing its listeners with tasteful, informative, and unique programming. From a single booth in the basement of Cabell Hall, students and townspeople were given an alternative to commercial mainstream radio.
This venture proved far more successful than Johnson probably ever imagined. When the organization outgrew its booth, it moved to Humphries Dorm, where it remained until 1983. Membership increased to about sixty people, and additions were made to the programming. Jazz was introduced in the early 1960's, rock in the early '70's, and folk (then part of the rock department, now known as Special Programming) in the late '70's. As it turns out, musical and informational offerings were the strong point of the station, not superior organization. Therefore, few official records can be found to indicate specifics of WTJU during this time. But even so, some things that were implemented during the Humphries years are still around. The most important and successful of theme was the marathon, which did not originate as a fundraising event. WTJU began playing continuous classical music during exams to provide the students with a relaxing atmosphere in which to study. This idea became so popular that WTJU's members decided to turn it into a concentrated effort to raise money. It proved one of the best decisions they ever made, as the marathon emerged as the primary source of financing for the station.
With advances such as the expanded marathon effort, wider programming, and an increase in membership from forty to more than one hundred, WTJU moved again to its present location in the basement of Peabody Hall. The old transmitter was replaced with one capable of broadcasting at a power of 1500 Watts and moved from Humphries to Observatory Hill. In these superior surroundings, WTJU came into its own. Along with the original two classical marathons during exams, which bring in an average of $7,000, a jazz marathon is held in the fall, collecting $10,000, rock in the spring, which brings in the most money at $18,000, and special programming in the summer, bringing in about $4,000.
WT(homas)J(efferson's)U(niversity)'s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) license, which must be renewed every six years, is held by the Board of Visitors of the University of Virginia, which allows it to broadcast as a college radio station. For the most part, the University does not interfere in its affairs. The majority of the staff is students. The Board of Directors consists of the President/General Manager, the Vice President/Station Manager, Program Director, Financial Director, and Operations Director, of which the President/General Manager and the Vice President/Station Manager must be undergraduate or graduate students. The Bylaws of the WTJU Operations Manual outline the specific duties of each office as follows:
President. He or she shall conduct all meetings and act as the official representative of WTJU in all correspondence of the station with persons and companies (i.e. job inquires, replies to requests for information, replies to comments, suggestions, and complaints) (Article II).
Program Director. This officer is responsible for the content and character of all material broadcast from WTJU, planning and posting a schedule of programming, and appointing music directors (Article III).
Financial Director. He or she shall administer all financial, secretarial, business, and office functions, be responsible for any theft, error, or accidental misplacement of any and all funds, collect dues, and keep track and records of all monies directed to the station (Article IY).
Operations Director. He or she shall be responsible for administration of the engineering department and the announcing staff and maintaining engineering logs. He or she has the power to remove staff for failure to hold proper registration (current FCC license) failure to follow FCC regulations, or technical incompetence. It is also his or her responsibility to maintain the good condition of all equipment (Article V).
Vice President/Station Manager. He or she is responsible for the general operation, maintenance, and administration of the station (except for those duties of the Operations Director, as stated in article V). He or she must conduct routine station cleaning, as well as special cleaning projects when needed, pick up and distribute the mail, stock general supplies, maintain an inventory of equipment and property, and be responsible for the overall upkeep of station facilities (Article VI).
The Operations Manual also includes the Constitution of WTJU-FM and an outline of station policy. Article II of the Constitution states that any student in good standing with the University or any Charlottesville resident is eligible to be on staff. WTJU does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, creed, or ethnic origin; it reserves the right to bar from staff anyone "whose government is deemed detrimental to their existence" and anyone who has had their license revoked without honor. This article also gives the right of suspension to the Board, which is elected each year. In order to be eligible to serve on the Board, a member must perform six months of active service. Article XI of the Bylaws describes active service as, "announcing music, news, or a public affairs program at least once every two weeks, or performing a specific and regular duty delegated by the Board," and a member in good standing as someone who is properly registered with the Station Manager, pays dues ($15/year), and provides minimum active service of two months after meeting requirements one and two in this Article. This Operations Manual was compiled and distributed to the members of the station in 1986, in a project led by then-Program Director and current DJ Charles W. Taylor III. A revision and updating is planned in the coming months.
There are approximately 170 staff members at WTJU this year. The Board of Directors consists of Ron Patterson, President, Bob Hurd, Station Manager, Tom Brannagan, Program Director, James Lum, Financial Director, and Maynard Snipe, Operations Director. The Board is responsible for appointing directors for each department. This year, Quinn heads up the Classical department, Phil Townsend and Carl Young direct the rock department, Emily McKnight and Bruce Torrence organize jazz, Special Programming is run by Tina Riley and Hal Strong, Mariflo Stephens heads up the Public Affairs department, and Engineering is taken care of by Jeff Earl.
Tom Brannagan is responsible for putting together the programming schedule and then putting out a guide with a time schedule, descriptions of each show, and their respective DJs. During the week, classical music is played in the morning until nine AM, followed by jazz until noon. Rock airs in the afternoon, followed by Pacifica News at four thirty. On Monday, Thursday, and Friday Public Affairs shows investigate environmental issues, interview local writers, and give African-American perspectives. After that, classical programming resumes until ten, when jazz returns. Rock again takes over for the late-night programming, lasting from midnight until six AM. The weekends feature special shows, including international music on Saturday morning, followed by traditional music from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean (Cinder Stanton). Unique rock programming airs from noon until four, when South American music, jazz, blues, and rap/house, R&B round out Saturday. Sunday begins with more classical, followed as usual by jazz. Show tunes precede more classical music, after which comes music exploring and celebrating the voices and songs of women (WTJU Program Guide). The late-night hours are dominated by Afro-American music and hardcore/thrash.
There are very few restrictions or requirements for the DJs to worry about. The DJ must read two Public Service Announcements (PSAs) per hour, interrupt the program to identify the music at least three to five times per hour (#37, Standard Operating Procedures: Rules, Regulations, and Suggestions; WTJU Operations Manual) and identify the station by its call letters and numerical position on the FM dial (WTJU 91.3 FM, Charlottesville, Va.). Each person is allowed to play anything they like, as long as it is within the genre of their show and does not contain obscenities, according to FCC regulations. This freedom allows a wide and fantastic variety of music, helping to fulfill TJU's license requirement to educate their listening audience. The material that is played doesn't usually get airtime on commercial stations because of limited production, content restrictions, or the lack of a big names to make it "accessible to the general public. As a result, TJU's programming is, for the most part, far more original, interesting, daring, and enjoyable. The station brings the Charlottesville community the newest releases from small and large labels alike, overlooked artists that never got the recognition they deserved, and innovative combinations of music that fit together surprisingly well. (Whoever thought that the Funkadelic haggot Brains superimposed with the teachings of Swami Sachinadanda would be an effective and successful combination?) Many of the DJs bring in material from their own private collections, giving an even broader and original spectrum of musical compositions. Two specialty shows that benefit most from this policy are the Zebra Club, as Jim Schneider receives more world music releases than the station does, and Music Maestro Please with Dave Fletcher and his collection of 4,000 albums, which includes many beautiful old 78s.
It is fairly simple to become a DJ at WTJU, although difficulty in getting a show varies between departments. Meetings for prospective DJs are held once at the beginning of each semester. The Rock Department is the most popular, and therefore is the hardest to get into. DJs that do get on staff usually do the two-to-six AM show every other week until something else opens up. It is much easier to get on the jazz staff, and shows open up more often. Special Programming has the shortest amount of programming time, but the wide variety of styles that it encompasses leaves ample room for creative and fascinating ideas. Classical programming is restricted not by popularity or the genre as much as by the strict, high standards of Quinn, the Classical Director.
Each new member is introduced to the equipment by their respective department heads. There are three studios; an air studio and two production studios. The new DJs are shown how to work the air board, which controls what is broadcast, the turntables, CD players, tape decks, cart machine, and the microphone. Working the air studio is basically simple; the hard part is getting comfortable with the idea of being on the radio. For the first few times, until the DJ gets used to the process, the director or an experienced DJ will help him or her with the show, demonstrating how to cue up, fill in the log, take meter readings (which must be taken every two hours), and giving helpful hints, such as keeping a cart cued up or a PSA ready in case an emergency arises. No one gets mad if a mistake is made on the air (except Quinn); everyone does it (except Quinn).
Because the staff is all-volunteer, every member is there because he or she wants to be there. The Board of Directors is made up of people who really care about WTJU. They are all either students at UVA, employed around Charlottesville, or both. They sacrifice their time (and sometimes sanity) to keep the station going, because they recognize the importance of alternative programming in Charlottesville. They put in ridiculous amounts of time finding and repairing equipment that always seems to be breaking, keeping the station presentable, processing mail, and generally making the station accessible to the Charlottesville community. The Department Heads help them in this, choosing and maintaining staff, organizing and publicizing the marathons, which account for the majority of the station's income (the money collected during the rock marathon reportedly funds the station until October). This type of dedication to "educational, alternative" radio provides the University of Virginia and surrounding communities with the opportunity to learn about virtually any style of music around, and if something isn't represented, it can easily be added. WTJU is not only the best source of alternative music programming in Virginia; it easily ranks among one of the best of its genre in the country.
On Wednesday, March 7, I had the pleasure of talking to Jim Schneider while he did his weekly world music show, the Zebra Club. It was a great experience, as I learned about the music he played as all as the process of putting together a show that requires contacts outside of the station and a thorough knowledge of the ethnic music of Africa and the Caribbean.
In between Jim's wonderfully informative explanations of the music to the listening audience, the two required PSAs each hour, and the confusion of cueing up sets that utilized two turntables, a CD player, and a tape deck, I questioned him about his music and his experience at WTJU. He has been with the station since 1983, beginning with a rock show, which lasted until 1986, when he began the Zebra Club. He was also Rock Director for several years, during which time he was responsible for the rock programming, setting up the yearly marathon, ends dealing with the DJs, among other things.
I was particularly interested in the music he played- where it originated, how he came to do a show of world music, and how he got the material. Most of the music comes from Africa and the Caribbean, with many countries represented. Jim's personal favorite is music from Zaire, and every once in a while he will give in and play only music from that country. But usually he tries to represent various different areas, grouping similar sounds and style-. He likes to have a consistency in the music, so that the sets flow smoothly. This particular time he played mostly dance music that had a lively tempo, amazing rhythms, and great excitement. Many of the records are now recorded in Paris, where most of the African artists go to make their albums. This is one of the reasons that Europeans have a greater awareness of world music than Americans, as they come into contact with it more often.
The level of awareness here in Charlottesville has increased dramatically since 1986. The Zebra Club's audience has spread throughout the community, as I realized when I asked a variety of people if they knew anything about world music and/or listened to Jim, and I was surprised at the number who tuned in regularly. Plan 9 Records, thanks to Jim, has started carrying a fair amount of the music that he plays, and it seems, if not popular, interesting to quite a few people in the area. The majority of the albums that he gets though, he orders himself through contacts with record companies that carry world music. Many of the new releases are on CD, and clearly show Latin influences, as well as a fusion of the sounds from both Africa and the Caribbean, which is particularly evident on the tracks recorded in Paris, where the musicians are exposed to one another's styles. In fact, some pop artists such as Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and Brian Wilson have discovered this music, and Jim played one song called "We Love You" that was composed by Jagger and Richards and sung by Wilson. Youssou H' Dour is one ethnic musician who has made it on the American charts, yet it seems his best material remains in its natural context among other examples of world music. The Zebra Club is a fantastic musical and cultural experience, providing the Charlottesville community with the opportunity to learn not only about the most exciting development in music today, but also the chance to raise one's awareness of fascinating and beautiful ethnic groups that do not get the attention they deserve in the United States.
Phil Townsend has been with WTJU for four years, serving as rock director for two of them. Although he no longer fills that position, he continues to put many hours into the station. As department head, he was responsible for a variety of different things. Each semester, TJU holds tryouts for new DJs, and it is the department director's responsibility to pick five or six rock staff from approximately thirty applicants. They submit a play list of forty songs, which illustrates what type of music they are interested in, and also how much they know about it. Of all the departments at the station, rock is the most difficult to get onto, as it is most popular. -After the available slots were filled, Phil had to teach the new DJ's how to work the air studio and keep tabs on them, to make sure that they were getting used to being on the air. If any rock DJ missed a show, he had to find a substitute or do it himself.
Along with choosing and maintaining staff, Phil was responsible for contacting the record companies, which involves getting new releases sent to the station (usually free) talking to various representatives, and compiling the two monthly rock reports, the Top 35 and the play list. These two items are very important, as they encourage the companies to send lots of new material. The Top 35 is a list of the 35 songs that were played most often during the month. It gives the record companies an idea of what is getting good airtime and what hasn't done as well. The play list functions basically the same way, but it is a complete listing of every song played during that month. This interaction is one of the best things about being director, according to Phil. Every once in a while, enormous companies will treat the department heads to dinner and a show, which is always nice. But the real appeal is the hands-on work down at the station, although it is precisely this work that has caused several staff members to go a little bit wacky.
The major yearly event for each department is the marathon, and the rock marathon brings in more money than any of the others, approximately $18,000. This accounts for the major part of the station's budget from April through October. In the weeks before it starts, Doss submits show ideas to the Director, who decides from there what the schedule will look like. Phil also had to go around and get sponsors for the Marathon Guide. Each year, the department gets a design to put on premium t-shirts, and it has also started to put this design on the cover of the Marathon Guide as well. Along with the shirts, the station gives away records, CDs, posters, cassettes, and concert tickets as promotions. Phil had to get these as well, which may in fact be one of the most important things that he did while Rock Director, as the quality and number of promotions offered often dictates the amount of money collected throughout the course of the marathon.
Clearly, the Rock Director has an immense responsibility to the station and to the listening community. In his two-year tenure, while finishing up at UVA, Phil Townsend committed his time and energies toward improving rock programming in Charlottesville; he did (and continues to do) an outstanding job, providing the community with tangible, educational evidence of his own fondness for WTJU.
Talking to various volunteers at WTJU is always fascinating, as each person has a slightly (or radically) different view of the station. Mark Haskins, Program Director for the 1988-89 year, is a prime example of this. During his term as a Board member, he had many ideas on how to improve programming, policy, and publicity, and he worked incredibly hard to get them implemented. A graduate of UVA, he spent close to thirty hours a week trying to get things organized, running smoothly and efficiently, with more variety and professionalism in the shows. Unfortunately, some members took offense at his manner, and he became rather unpopular. This situation illuminated the dynamics, which govern the machinations of the station, but it also proved that these dynamics are the key to the success of the station.
As Program Director, Mark was responsible for what went out over the air, and he had strong idea on the content and quality of what was presented (actually, he had strong ideas on a number of things). He believed that TJU's success outside the University community demanded more professionalism in its presentation, so that it would not seem like such a "college" radio station. Along these same lines, he believed that students should not serve on the Board of Directors, as they did not have the time that the positions required. This point of view was not unique to Mark, although it was and still is in the minority. Most of the members strongly believe that students should control the decisions and policies of the station, and that the station should not be allowed to grow to a size where this would be impossible. The University agrees with this point of view, and actually tried to force TJU into filling all executive positions with students. This was (and still is, to some extent) a very controversial issue that threatened TJU's existence.
A group of students within the University wants to start another non-commercial station broadcasting "college rock" from UVA grounds, which would be called Cavalier Communications, and it would be run entirely by students. This conflicts with WTJU though, and the people in charge of the project basically tried to get TJU kicked out of their studios by pointing out that this college organization was not being run by enough students. As a result, the positions of President and the Station Manager must be filled by students. Mark was pretty heavily involved in this whole issue, as he was Program Director while it was going on. He said that he actually wouldn’t mind if the station broke away from UVA and became independent, as then they wouldn’t have to worry about the politics that permeate student organizations, especially when the Student Council gets involved.
Another reason for his venting a break like this was the programming he wanted to offer, which not everyone was receptive to. He saw the need for a much-expanded Public Affairs department, which would cover local and international news, as well as special programs and interviews. To assist in the production of these show, he purchased a $92,000 production control board. This angered a lot of people, who didn't see the need for something that was going to get limited use (only a few people even know how to use it now, and for a while it was disconnected) when turntables, CD players, and various other things around the studio were constantly breaking. This made him even less popular than before, and when the time came for elections, he was not reelected to the Board. Mark still substitutes for Special Programming DJs every once in a while, but he has become disillusioned with the station because of the resistance and disorganization he encountered. But evidence suggests that precisely this near- anarchy keeps the character and provides some of the appeal of WTJU.
Tom Brannagan gives a lot of his time to WTJU, in between his work in medical school. He has been with the station since 1961, serving as President, Station Manager, and Jazz Director, as well as being Program Director this year. He does many things for the station, but his primary job now is to make sure that the programming schedule is drawn up and maintained. He also has to distribute a Program Guide each semester (or year, depending on the finality of the schedule at the beginning of the term). One of his primary concerns is that no show falls through the cracks, as can happen in an organization that has as many members as WTJU.
One of his greatest accomplishments has been the addition of the WTJU Jazz Concert Series to the cultural aspect of Charlottesville. He and Reggie Marshall, another jazz enthusiast and TJU member, brought some of the biggest names on the current jazz scene to perform around the town. Sun Ra and his Celestial Orchestra, David Murray and Kahil El 'Zabar, Sheila Jordan and Harvey Swartz, Imiri Baraka, Andrew White, and Fred Hopkins and Deidre Murray are just a few of the amazing musicians that he and Reggie have managed to bring to Charlottesville. Several of the artists have also held free public workshops before the show=, alloying interested musicians (or just interested people) to interact with some of the best people in jazz today. Local jazz great John D'earth performed with several of the artists and helped spread the word around the area. The combined effort" of these people have made the Concert Series a huge success this year, and it shows every sign of continuing. This is probably one of the best services that WTJU does for the community, and much of the credit goes to jazz DJ, Program Director, and medical student Tom Brannagan.
The Classical department at WTJU is known for its wide range of programming, beautiful-voiced DJs, and its knowledgeable, strict director, Quinn. Quinn runs his department with the effectiveness of a drill sergeant, with as much respect and instilling almost as much fear. He resembles a walking Classical music encyclopedia, as I've never seen him unable to answer a question on the subject. He cares immensely for both his music and his department, and it is clear in the superior quality of the classical show. I've never heard any of his DJs make a mistake in pronunciation, delivery (except for the long pauses in speech that seems to go along with classical show) or information. This is no accident. Quinn has a system that every new DJ has to go through before they can do a show on their own.
When they first start out, Quinn only lets them do the announcing, until they get completely comfortable with articulating their message over the air. He says that this takes a few weeks. As they become accustomed to the feel of broadcasting and learn how to work the studio equipment, he gradually adds things for them to do. When they are comfortable with the microphone, he lets them work the air board, cue the CD player (he rarely uses LPs or tapes anymore) and so on until they are fully relaxed in the studio and, more importantly, Quinn is satisfied with their capability to present a show that is up to his standards. Together with familiarizing them with the process of doing a show, he gives them every opportunity to learn as much as possible about the music-pronunciation, translations, terms, etc. He will either tell them how to say the name of a Greek composer, or he will refer them to several people in the community who would know (professors, foreign residents).
He doesn't think this is at all extraneous or unnecessary. He has very strict standards for himself and his department, and he expects them to be met (this brings up comments such as, Quinn is the Classical Department, and speculations about whether there is anything Quinn doesn't know about Classical music, but he either ignores them or good-naturedly laughs and denies them). His own show, "The Theme Within" is generally spectacular. He has his own theory on how classical music should be presented. It is his intention to provide an alternative to what he refers to as "wallpaper music" as played on other stations. He strongly condemns those stations that practice "excerpting" which involve" taking a movement here and a section there and cramming them together, out of context, into a show. His intention is to serve the music, not use it." He also believes in broadcasting unusual music or music that generally doesn't get the air time it deserves, because of ignorant prejudices that persist in the listening community. This is why twentieth-century music can be heard before nine o'clock in the morning. Quinn holds that WTJU's responsibility to its audience is to create demands, not supply them. This comes from another theory that he picked up from Vincent Canby, that it is important to "give audiences what they don't yet know they want" (1989 WTJU Classical Marathon Guide). This attitude has inspired several hate calls to the station, but it has also produced a classical music department that is unequaled in the area, if not the country.
Being the Station Manager of WTJU is a demanding and sometimes rewarding job, as current Vice President Bob Hurd has discovered. He is a student at UVA who has found himself spending twenty-five hours a week down at the station, doing all sorts of things. As Station Manager, he is responsible for the general upkeep of the studios, getting and distributing the mail, keeping an inventory of all supplies for the station and making sure that there is enough of everything, running meetings when the President can't, etc...etc....People call him when someone doesn't show up for their show, when the transmitter goes haywire (which has been known to happen from time to time), and when they just can't find something. Maybe that's why he's found himself spending so much time down at the station -- it saves traveling time.
But despite the confusion and long hours, WTJU is being run better than it has in years. Bob is incredibly conscientious about his job, and he has tried to bring some type of order to a fairly chaotic and anarchistic place -- but not too much, as he sees that part of what makes TJU the fun, interesting, crazy place that it is comes from the almost-anarchy (which turns into full-blown anarchy when things get boring) that reigns in the station. He seems to like the job (although not enough to run for re-election) but he has some specific problems with the way things are organized. As an all-volunteer organization, WTJU is at the mercy of the dedication and caring of its members. While this is part of the essence of the station, Bob believes that it could be served much more effectively if there was one or two paid positions. These would probably be the Station Manager and the Engineer who would not be able to vote on station policy. This was originally Mark Haskins' idea, and it would both improve conditions around the studio and keep TJU's integrity. Bob has expressed interest in the job, saying that he'd love to get paid to do exactly what he is doing right now.
Without his help, I would never have been able to get to know WTJU as well as I do now. He answered all of my questions completely and put up with my hanging around the station all the time as I tried to learn as much as I could about alternative radio.
As my advisor, stepmother, and Special Programming DJ, Cinder has been absolutely great in helping me learn about WTJU. She prodded me when I procrastinated, and encouraged me when I felt intimidated by my task. Her knowledge of the station, telling me who knew the most about the station, who had been there the longest, and so on-was irreplaceable. Without it I would have been completely lost and probably would have chickened out of many phone calls and interviews.
I went in with her one Saturday morning for her show, Atlantic Weekly, which she rotates with five other people. She plays music from the British Isles, and this day happened to be St. Patrick's Day. She showd me where all of the records are and how she decides what she is going to play. Usually, she makes up a play list at home, but this day she picked from the material at the station. She showed me how to cue up a record, which slidey thing on the air board did what, how to fill in the play list log, how to take meter readings, and how the DJs pick PSAs (by whim). Like many of the DJs, she loves the music she plays, and often dance around the studio. This shows one of the best things about TJU, the way that most of the members are there only because they want to be there, and because they see the incredible service that WTJU does the community. With enthusiasm like Cinder's, alternative radio will continue to be broadcast for Charlottesville residents, so that more people can learn about all types of music, without the restrictions of commercial, mainstream restrictions.
In the course of my research on WTJU, I have learned much more than I ever imagined I would. I thought that I would just be doing a series of interviews and looking for mentions of the station in local publications, but instead I learned much more than I would have, had I stuck to that plan. Through the assistance of Cinder Stanton and Bob Hurd in particular, I have a working knowledge of what goes into running a radio station, as well as a vivid picture of the kinds of people who make places like TJU a success.
There is a certain amount of chaos that always exists down at the station. Few of the Board members or Directors have any kind of office hours, so it is usually luck that determines whether or not a specific person can be found to ask a question, help with a problem, or fix one of the thing. that break with alarming regularity. But there always seem~ to be someone around who can either fix the problem or, if they can't, they know who can and how to get in touch with that person. If things were more organized, the station would lose exactly what makes it work. It is a place where one is free to share specialized knowledge with the community, end also to learn from the others around who have a different view. The constant changing of staff allows freshness and diversity to come in, without which everyone would hate each other by the end of the semester.
Before I got involved in this project, I knew nothing about radio broadcasting whatsoever. Now I know enough that I could do my own show. But I also learned about what it is like to work in an all-volunteer environment where the membership is constantly changing and personalities are evident. Strangely enough, I really like that type of environment, and I think that I would like to continue working and learning in this situation, which I was able to get a head start on before college. The things I discovered while down at WTJU have opened my eyes to another aspect of life that I didn't know existed for me.