UVA Arts, University of Virginia

Vol 09 Winter 18 Library
Helena Nicholakos (College & SEAS ‘17; SEAS MS ‘18), former WXTJ Student DJ (Credit: Dan Addison)
WTJU Radio

WXTJ · Student Radio on 100.1 FM

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In his first two years as General Manager at WTJU, Nathan Moore worked hard to try and bring more students into the station fold. Over its six-decade history, WTJU had seen student participation ebb and flow, and had in fact moved during the 1990’s to a community radio model. His “go big or go home” solution? Build a second station that would be totally student-driven. Enter WXTJ, which debuted in 2013 as a streaming-only model before earning an FCC broadcast license and hitting the terrestrial airwaves in the spring of 2016. “I think the benefits of college radio are myriad,” Moore said. “From the experience of broadcasting and running an actual FCC-licensed organization, to being on-air and getting really good at communication and presentation, to having the opportunity to be a real part of the music community in the town.” Fourth year Alice Clair, who is serving as President and General Body Director for WXTJ this year, started with the station her first year. Clair, a singer songwriter who recently released her first solo record, said, “When I arrived at UVA, I thought, what else can I add to my music experience?” What she is able to add at WXTJ goes far beyond spinning records. The station regularly presents concerts throughout the year, including annual sold-out shows in the UVA Chapel, house concerts, a community art exhibit, and more. “This diversity of offerings and opportunities is evidence of the staying power of college radio, and of radio in general,” Moore said. “Students at UVA, and specifically at WXTJ, are using the term ‘radio’ in a much more expansive way that includes these events and concerts and other community-building things that they roll up into the term ‘radio.’”

WXTJ's Helena Nicholaus
(Photo: Dan Addison)

In early 2019, WXTJ and WTJU will be relocating their studios to a building on Ivy Road, and concerts and community events are baked into the design at the new space. The floor plan includes a coffee shop sized venue for live music, storytelling performances, art openings, and anything positive that brings people together. The result is that in a media-saturated world where the sheer enormity of our media choices is pulling us apart from one another, stations like WXTJ, and WTJU, are serving a purpose that goes far beyond news or entertainment. “In today’s society, we are at once super-connected technologically, and yet very atomized socially,” Moore said, “I think the role that stations like WXTJ, and in the broader community, WTJU, can play is to provide spaces for generating community experiences to fill that human need to actually be connected to one another.” 

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Jason George (College ‘94)