WTJU Timelines | Histories | Interviews | Photo Gallery

  • To present original, rich, and diverse programming of music and other forms of expression free from the direct constraints of commercial interests, reflecting the broadest educational goals of the University.

  • To provide the University and surrounding communities with a significant alternative to other broadcast media within the station's service area.

  • To provide educational, entertaining music and public affairs programming, and information on issues and events of interest to the community.

  • To serve as a communications link between the University and surrounding communities, bringing the resources of the University to its neighbors, providing opportunities for participation in the creation of programming and the experience of broadcasting, and fostering closer contact among different groups.

  • To archive selected recorded material acquired or produced by WTJU.

Welcome to an overview of the life of University of Virginia radio station, WTJU-FM. For over forty years, WTJU has provided the Central Virginia community with diverse, educational public affairs and music programming. On the eve of one of the biggest events in WTJUís history, it is a good time to look back on how the all-volunteer station began at the University. In the summer of 2000, WTJU will relocate its studios for only the fourth time in 44 years. Each move represented an improvement in facilities or equipment, but the new location at Lambeth Commons will include state-of-the-art broadcast equipment within the largest space the station has ever enjoyed.

Over its forty-plus year lifetime at the University of Virginia, WTJU has changed from an exclusive corps of all male student broadcasters to a community-supported and fully educational station. This website acts as an on-line archive of histories, press clippings, photographs, interviews, and timelines gathered by WTJU volunteers during the station's lifetime. The site also includes an overview of the most recent events that will shape WTJU's future.

The last ten years has brought WTJU more community (communities of both UVA and Central Virginia!) support through higher levels of volunteerism and underwriting than the station has ever seen. With a broadcast range of as far as sixty miles, WTJU's signal is heard in a broad area of Central Virginia; the survival of the first News Department in twenty years has allowed for greater coverage of community events. Additionally, the more active presence of University of Virginia administration and a full-time, paid Station Manager has kept WTJU highly organized over the last few years. (Until 1992, members of the student-run Board of Directors switched positions sometimes as frequently as every semester; this constant changing of the guard did not help the efficiency of the organization. See Karen Sacks' and Julie Innes' papers For the Last Twenty Years, WTJU-FM and WTJU-FM, Alternative Radio in Charlottesville )And finally, the renewed partnership between WTJU and the University has brought on a relationship with the UVA Media Studies Program. WTJU has always been a place for aspiring broadcasters to release and experiment with their creativity, but beginning in the 2000-2001 school year, Media Studies students may earn academic credit for their experiences with college radio.

WTJU has been described as "a place where one is free to share specialized knowledge with the community..." (Innes, 1990) Since the founding of the station, WTJU announcers have enjoyed the freedoms of unrestricted playlists and little faculty supervision. The station has always contained a very social group of students and community members; there are descriptions of "several cocktail parties each semester" during the 1960's and '70's. (Sacks, 1977) Over the years many students have chosen to swap their college careers for their enthusiasm for WTJU -- until the early 1990's and the hiring of Station Manager Chuck Taylor many active WTJU volunteers were forced to leave the University for ignoring their academic duties. But the openness of the WTJU community has remained constant throughout the station's lifetime, and its recent affiliations with both the Dean of Students Office and the Office of Student Affairs has helped support student volunteers.

Although it had always been difficult for the members of WTJUís student governing board to keep a full-time radio station on the air while going to school as well, by the early nineties, WTJU Station Manager Bob Hurd and other members of the stationís board began to realize much of the confusion and chaos of running WTJU could be diminished through hiring one or two paid employees. Nothing materialized until two years later, when a volunteerís actions brought FCC scrutiny to WTJU. Shortly after this incident the University gave serious consideration to hiring a full-time manager. To hear WTJU Station Manager Chuck Taylor talk about this decision, go to the interviews page.

Although WTJU had remained owned by the Universityís Board of Visitors through its thirty years on the air, UVA officials like Associate Dean of Students Ron Stump understood the impact students have afforded the station, and they agreed to give the stationís student and community member management input in the hiring process. Over the course of the fall of 1992, the station elected a "restructuring committee" and provided a proposal to the University regarding the future make-up of WTJU. The University accepted the proposal and in early 1993, Dean Ron Stump hired long-time DJ and then programming director Charles "Chuck" W. Taylor III as Station Manager.

The hiring of Chuck Taylor and WTJUís new affiliation as a department rather than a student group helped the organization of the station dramatically. No longer did student board members need to loiter in the stationís offices all day long, waiting for something to go wrong that they could fix. Although some recorders of WTJU history called the organizational chaos "necessary" to retain the "freshness" of the station, Taylorís tenure at WTJU has not changed the annual influx of new volunteers - if anything the more organized station has attracted more interested students and community members than ever before.

Additionally the stationís place as a department within the University of Virginia has given WTJU more financial and moral support than the station could have imagined. Although it has taken some convincing and diplomacy by Taylor, the University is loaning WTJU money to relocate to expansive offices and studios in Lambeth Commons. (To hear Vice President for Student Affairs Bill Harmon discuss the expense of the new WTJU studios, go to the interviews page.) Though the University cannot pay anyone for work done for WTJU, except the General Manager, Business Manager and Underwriting Solicitor, the Office of Student Affairs awards trips to radio conferences to a few student volunteers each year who have shown a high level of commitment or who may pursue a career in broadcasting. According to Joanna Drucker, chair of UVA's new Media Studies Program, students in Media Studies will fill WTJU and other University radio stations with additional volunteers in order to fulfill internship and production requirements.

The life of the station - the sometimes-eccentric personalities of the DJs and the eclectic kinds of music havenít changed much in the last ten years. WTJU still strives to play that song that you wouldnít hear anywhere else, or what former classical music director Quinn called "what audiences donít yet know they want." WTJU has also broadened its reach in the quest for quality music by sponsoring live performances in Charlottesville. Most of these artists are jazz or blues musicians, but WTJU has brought a wide variety of performers over the years. What became known as the Jazz Concert Series had its beginnings in 1982: WTJU student volunteers had the idea that sponsoring live jazz concerts would help WTJU promote the stationís jazz programming and bring cutting edge artists to the most unlikely of locations, the small college town of Charlottesville, Virginia. Since that first concert, WTJU has sponsored approximately 130 live music performances at the University of Virginia, in local clubs and venues and brought national level musicians to local middle and high schools. For further information about WTJUís Jazz Concert Series and a chronological listing of the concerts, go to Jazz Concert Series on the WTJU website.

Annual reports over the last three years indicate rising levels of volunteerism, both within the University and Charlottesville-Albemarle communities. WTJU has been a beneficiary of this trend, particularly considering the high quality of student volunteers that the University attracts. Local businesses have also stepped up their support of WTJU with a higher number of underwriting contracts signed every year. As an alternative to advertising, underwriting is a way for a business (or non-profit organization) to gain community-wide recognition for support of WTJU and its commitment to quality and diverse programming through donations specific to a particular program. For a list of current program underwriters go to funding in the WTJU website.

WTJU Timelines | Histories | Interviews | Photo Gallery

This site last updated May 1, 2001