Monday, October 17, 2011

WTJU - Enough with the stereotypes

A fair amount of ink, both virtual and real, was spilled celebrating College Radio Day. That's fine. But in a Washington Post story featuring a quote from WTJU's station manager, we were there under the broad characterization that's haunted the station for years.
Quirky, loud and unpredictable, college radio has dwelt for a half-century at the left of the dial, a youthful counterpart to public radio. 
Well, in WTJU's case, that's a very small part of the story.

I have hosted a classical music program (albeit, quirky) on the station weekly since 1984. And it's not an anomaly of programming, either. WTJU has aired classical music from 6-9 every weekday morning (and Sundays, too) for over 15 years.

We've air a complete opera every Sunday evening (again, for almost two decades now). And we have aired classical music in the evening for about the same length of time, with one of our hosts, Ann Shaffer presenting "A Time for Singing", an opera singer showcase, for over twenty years.

One quarter of our total airtime has consistently been devoted to classical music, just as one quarter of our airtime has been given to jazz programming. And the jazz programming has been of the same high quality as our classical programming. Ditto with our folk (which also includes world music) programming, which also occupies a quarter of the schedule.

We have had trained professional musicians, musicologists, published authors and recognized experts in the field programming and hosting classical, jazz and folk music on the station on WTJU for over a decade. Classical programming has been running every weekday morning from 6-9AM for decades. Jazz programming has always run from 9-noon every weekday for the same stretch of time.

But what is the public's perception of the statiion?

WTJU is an FM free-form radio station licensed to the University of Virginia and operating on 91.1 FM.
 - The CVillepedia

To me, that says I have no idea what the hell I'll be hearing if I tune in -- probably something loud and quirky. It doesn't say that if you tune in any weekday morning, you'll hear classical music. Every weekday morning, always from 6-9.

WTJU, U.Va.’s freeform, volunteer-run radio station, is special to many
- UVA Magazine

And if you read this article, you'll be under the impression that WTJU only does free-form rock programming (they don't mention the other genres). Thanks, guys.

And these are the sources that should know what WTJU is about!

So look. Call us multi-format if you must, or even variety. But do us and yourself a favor. Tune in and listen. We have classical music every weekday morning from 6-9. Jazz every weekday from 9-noon.

I'll be there as I have been since 1984.

And there's nothing free-form about that.

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