The University of Virginia’s public radio station, WTJU 91.1 FM, will soon be moving to its biggest and best location in its six decades of broadcasting to the Charlottesville community.
Once it moves into 2244 Ivy Road in mid-late March, “WTJU will have great visibility, terrific parking, state-of-the-art digital studios, and a dedicated live-performance stage,” said WTJU General Manager Nathan Moore. “And it will still be accessible to our 170 UVA student volunteers.”
Moving to a building that previously housed Sneak Reviews, WTJU will be just west of UVA’s Central Grounds, readily accessible by foot, bicycle, or bus on the University Transit Service’s Purple Route.
“WTJU’s public programming and outreach through their Freefall Concert series continues to expand,” said Jody Kielbasa, UVA Vice Provost for the Arts. “This new location will provide far more public visibility and accessibility while reinforcing WTJU’s educational goals for UVA.”
WTJU spent its first four decades largely in basements – first in Old Cabell Hall, then in Humphries dorm, and then in Peabody Hall. It ascended to second floor space within a student housing complex when it got to Lambeth Commons 19 years ago. But parking was distant and limited, and the location was challenging for visitors and musicians to find.
About 2,600 square feet in the new two-story location – 300 square feet more than in Lambeth – are being renovated, with an intimate live performance venue on the ground floor and studios and offices upstairs. WTJU continues to expand its role as a UVA department dedicated to community engagement, centered around music and conversation, Moore said.
“We’ll be extending the community spirit of our on-air broadcasting to in-person music and community experiences,” Moore said. “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 will be a gap that must be covered via fundraising, said Moore.
“Nurturing our Charlottesville community with music is why WTJU exists. WTJU makes Charlottesville feel like home. So we’re asking for support to help build WTJU’s new home,” Moore said. “In early 2019, we’re launching a campaign to build this new home together.”
Founded at the University of Virginia in 1957, WTJU 91.1 FM engages in non-commercial radio broadcasting, digital media, live music concerts, and educational programs. WTJU is also home to WXTJ 100.1 FM, freeform student radio; Teej.fm, a local podcast network; and CharlottesvilleClassical.org.