In the Beginning
WTJU was founded in 1955 when UVA’s Department of Speech and Drama decided they a UVA-based educational radio station. The fraternity Kappa Delta Pi put up a large part of the funds necessary to get the station off the ground. Two years later, WTJU had a small but dedicated group of 100 listeners and was able to broadcast throughout Charlottesville.
1959 was the station’s first ever music marathon and it was done during UVA’s exam period. 4 years later, in 1963, WTJU became a full-fledged student organization, separate from the UVA Department of Speech and Drama. It isn’t for over 10 years, until 1971, that WTJU begins broadcasting rock music. Two years later, Georgeann Herbert becomes the first woman to join WTJU’s board of directors.
Radio All Day, Every Day
By 1974, WTJU is broadcasting 24 hours a day; previously it had been between 12-18 hours a day. In 1977, the station begins transitioning from an all-student station to a student-community hybrid in order to allow the station to broadcast 24/7 all year long, even when school is not in session. In 1985, WTJU gains special status from the Dean of Students office, allowing community members to serve on the Board of Directors.
In 1993, the filing of an improper FCC document by a station volunteer prompts the Dean of Students office to hire a full-time manager: Chuck Taylor. In the same year, WTJU changes its frequency from 91.3 to 91.1. Facing major budget cuts in 1996, UVA’s Executive Vice President Leonard Sandridge decides to give the station annual support through the University’s comprehensive fee.
A New Home
Planned construction at Peabody hall forced WTJU to relocate and in 2000, WTJU moved into its current home in Lambeth Commons. The station settled into its new home and in 2005, after paying off the loan it had gotten from UVA to move locations, brought its first computer into the air studio. By 2010, WTJU had also started streaming its content over the internet as well as the airwaves. In addition, earlier in the year, Chuck Taylor retired as Station Manager, though he returned as a part-time employee to assist in hiring, and Burr Beard was brought in to replace him.
After stepping into his position, Beard tried to enact sweeping changes to the station’s operation and was met with major backlash from station volunteers and listeners. By fall of that same year, Beard resigned and the station began its search for a new manager. In 2011, Nathan Moore was hired and is the current General Manager of the station. And in 2013, WTJU launched the all student-run station WXTJ.