Most of us might wonder where to put our pots, pans and dishes when we move into a new home, but the folks at WTJU 91.1 FM face a unique problem as they move into their new digs between now and March 23. Where do they put their priceless collection of tens of thousands of vinyl records?
“We’re up to our eyeballs building shelves for our 40,000 vinyl albums,” said General Manager Nathan Moore of WTJU, the University of Virginia’s public radio station.
Amid the shelf-building, Moore found time to construct his own Scandinavian-style desk.
“We’re a DIY group,” he said with a laugh. “We have a handful of paid staffers, but the station could not exist without its hundreds of volunteers, including 170 UVA students.”
To celebrate the move to 2244 Ivy Road, more that 60 volunteer DJs will collaborate to present a single radio show on March 23, 12 – 2 p.m. If successful, WTJU will break a Guinness Book of Records title held since 2012 by a radio station in England.
The public will get to view the groaning shelves of records, the handmade desk of the general manager, the brand-new broadcast booths, and every other part of the station when WTJU throws its doors open for a studio-warming party on March 30, 12 – 3 p.m.
“We’ll have studio tours, free food with fancy sodas, free t-shirts to first 200 show-ups, and producers ready to record anyone who wants to offer a few words,” said Moore.
WTJU is moving into extensively renovated space that formerly housed the video rental store Sneak Reviews. This new location will feature a live performance space on the ground floor with broadcast studios and offices on the second floor.
This will be the first freestanding space that WTJU has had in its 62 years of broadcasting.
“For the first time, we’ll have great visibility, terrific parking, and state-of-the-art digital studios,” said Moore. WTJU began in the basement of Old Cabell Hall in 1957. It was next housed in Humphries dorm and Peabody Hall. It will be vacating its second-floor location within the Lambeth Residences student housing complex to move to 2244 Ivy Road. WTJU will occupy about 2,600 square feet in the new two-story location – 300 square feet more than in Lambeth.
“We’ll be extending the community spirit of our on-air broadcasting to in-person music and community experiences,” said Moore. “Taken as a whole, this move represents WTJU moving into its next era as a dynamic media service at the intersection of the university and surrounding community.”
A move of this magnitude – involving HVAC, electrical, telecommunications, and audio equipment upgrades – requires substantial funding, and several parts of UVA have kicked in money. But there is a gap that must be covered via fundraising, said Moore.