Name: Rebecca Foster
Show: Eclectic Woman, Tuesdays 12 – 2 p.m. and In the Spirit, Sundays 9 – 10 a.m.
How long have you been at WTJU: Since 1999
Why did you become a WTJU host?
Because I loved listening to community radio and wanted to join the conversation. I love letting the music speak for itself, interspersed with a bit of commentary from someone who cares about the music.
Why should someone tune into your show in particular? What do you want to share with the world?
They are likely to hear something they’ve never heard before, along with what I call candy, the songs people already know they love. I curate an eclectic show that features harmony, rhythm, great lyrics and different versions of familiar songs. And, of course, the Eclectic Woman show is just a drop in the bucket toward fixing the underrepresentation of women on most playlists.
Tell us about one of your biggest gaffs while in the studio.
Not a gaff, but I have been known to cry on the air when I’m particularly moved by a song. I encourage people to let the music help them get in touch with their emotions.
Favorite moments in the air studio? And/or what makes you feel great about being there?
I love hearing from listeners that they’ve been struck by a song or the way I have organized the songs. Putting a show together makes me think harder about the music and it makes me happy when people recognize what I’m doing. I love getting suggestions from the listeners. It adds to the feeling that there’s a real conversation going on.
How has it felt being a radio host during this pandemic?
I feel so lucky that I can still offer something fun and useful to the community. I have thought harder than ever about the kinds of messages I can send to people who may feel isolated or confused. I know that people who miss social contact can connect to the friendly voices on the radio and I am grateful that mine is one of them.
What are your passions outside of music?
Coloring, cooking, gardening, making things, dancing, the Rivanna River.
Why does WTJU matter?
As a genuine community radio station, it connects real people to other real people around a shared love of so many kinds of music. There’s the educational element, along with the entertainment, that serves the greater good. It’s a space for voices that aren’t for sale.
How have you seen WTJU change in your time here? How have you seen Charlottesville change?
I love that WTJU has gotten smarter in use of technology, with a vital on-line presence, among other things. Other great new things have been podcasting, summer camps and a space for live music (before the pandemic). The schedule is more predictable, which is good for people tuning in for a type of music rather than a specific show, but it allows less room for new sounds and new programmers. Thank goodness for WXTJ! (Note: WTJU’s all-student run sister station at 100.1 FM) Charlottesville keeps getting more interesting. I grew up here during the first wave of integration. The times we’re going through now feel complicated in a similar way. And there’s a great variety of food and entertainment, even during the pandemic.
What could WTJU do better?
Keep trying to be more inclusive of all the cultures that make up our community. Coordinate with other arts and culture organizations.
Would you rather be a famous singer or be able to bring your favorite deceased singer back to life?
Too self-conscious to be a famous singer. I’d like to bring Townes Van Zandt back to life, healthy and happy, which he never was.