Illustration by Charles Peale
After 26 years on-air, Rhythm & Romance had its final show on Tuesday, August 16, from 9am-12pm.
Click here to hear the final edition of Rhythm & Romance (Available until August 30)
Host Charles Peale can still recall the very show he ever did: June 11, 1990. Back then it was called “The Jazz Pop Relationship” as he wanted to show the correlations and connections between Jazz and Pop. But after awhile, Charles become more interested in the Pop side and so he decided to adopt the name we all know today, “Rhythm & Romance.”
When he chose the new name, he didn’t know that it was also the name of one of Ella Fitzgerald’s songs. Years later, Charles happened to stumble across the song and longtime fans will probably remember that he used it as the theme song for a time.
Over 26 years, the memories certainly pile up but one that stands out to Charles is his last show at Peabody Hall. WTJU had been broadcasting in UVA’s Peabody Hall studios for decades and had just recently been able to relocate to Lambeth Commons, its home today. By Charles’ last show, the relocation was almost finished.
“At that time, they were moving everything over and had ripped out the entire broadcast studio,” Charles recalls. “The only thing left was the production studio (our backup/work studio) and so that’s where I was broadcasting.” He was alone in the station. Everyone else had moved over to the new Lambeth building. Charles looked through the glass separating the two studios and it looked like a construction site with electrical wires hanging from the ceiling. At the end of his show, one of the staff called him up and told him to push a button when his show finished. So as his show came to an end, he said his goodbyes to the listeners and pushed the button. And just like that, Peabody Hall went dark and Lambeth Commons came on the air for the first time.
Beyond his claim to fame as the very final show at Peabody Hall, marathons and marathon shows also stand out in his mind. “It’s stressful and difficult,” he says. “But after it’s over, I’m usually really happy because people do come through and I’ve been really lucky. I don’t think it has anything to do with my ability, it’s all about the music. People love the music and when I have to ask, I always gets a great response.”
Although Charles will do his final Rhythm & Romance on August 16th, you’ll still be able to catch him occasionally as he plans to continue being a substitute host. And not just Jazz, Charles is interested in subbing for other genres too so you never know where or when you’ll hear from him next.
If you’re someone who has relied on Charles and his music to get you through the morning or brighten your day, be sure to call in to 434-924-3959 on Tuesday or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let him know.