Home WTJU, in face of budget cuts, embarks on week-long rock odyssey

WTJU, in face of budget cuts, embarks on week-long rock odyssey


wtjuEvery year, the University of Virginia’s eclectic community radio station WTJU sets aside seven days for its Rock Marathon – a week of far-reaching, big-eared rock music, curated by WTJU’s passionate and deeply knowledgeable volunteer DJs.

This year’s Rock Marathon fundraiser runs April 10-16, and it comes at an intense juncture for the non-commercial radio station. WTJU is celebrating its 60th Anniversary in 2017 – brimming with excitement for this milestone in our history. But simultaneously, WTJU is facing a serious financial threat. The station receives about 15% of its budget from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting – which the White House has earmarked for oblivion in this year’s proposed federal budget.

“WTJU is incredibly fortunate to have a vibrant and devoted listenership that supports the station’s year-round mix of classical, jazz, world, folk, and rock,” said Nathan Moore, WTJU General Manager. “Facing these potential cuts to CPB funding is sobering. So now more than ever, we need listeners to invest in WTJU and its future.”

Typically, public radio stations do pledge drives by punctuating their regular programming with pitches for pledges. But WTJU does its fundraisers differently – we upend our normal program schedule for genre-specific “marathons,” which become week-long parties-on-the-air.

“The Rock Marathon is the one time each year our listeners turn on WTJU in the morning, at lunchtime, or during drive time, and hear our Rock DJs bringing the noise – it’s just a blast,” says Nick Rubin, WTJU’s Rock Program Director.

This year’s menu includes shows dedicated to late-seventies UK new wave; math rock; southern soul; and global psychedelia. Artist features include Big Star, Sharon Jones, and on Easter Sunday – who else? – Mitch Easter. And from 7-9pm during the week (April 10-14), DJs will curate the best of 1967, ’77, ’87, ’97, and ’07. There’s even a show reacting to recent controversies – featuring rock from “Seven Banned Countries,” the nations affected by President Trump’s travel ban (Monday, April 10, 2-4pm).

The full schedule is available online at WTJU.net/rock2017.

Each year, WTJU’s Rock Marathon t-shirt is always a unique attraction. Famous musicians and artists have designed shirts in the past, including Robyn Hitchcock, Steve Keene, and Daniel Johnston. This year’s design (see attached image) was created by WTJU DJ “Wicked Sharkie,” whose own marathon shows will focus on metal pioneers Black Sabbath and Australia’s burgeoning stars, King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard.

WTJU broadcasts from Charlottesville at 91.1 FM and from Ashland, VA at 102.9 FM. The station also streams live at WTJU.net. The station has served to enrich the culture of Virginia, extend UVA’s educational mission, and bring people together through music and conversation since 1957. In addition to its radio signal, WTJU also hosts dozens of free live concerts each year, runs youth radio camps each summer, operates the Teej.fm local podcast network, and operates WXTJ 100.1 FM, our student-run Low Power FM sister station.



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