Tuesday, June 22, 2010

16. Message from Mark Mayo Sawicki to the WTJU Rock List

For what it’s worth, here are my impressions of the situation and the message sent at the Rock Department meeting. This is not meant to offend anyone, just be a realistic take away.

1. WTJU has not been run very well as a station. You can make the arguments for why this is (some of which may be valid), but the fact is we do not have ownership of the station (it is owned by UVA) and our opinions/suggestions which have not been implemented in the past by previous management will most likely not be implemented in the future, hence the hiring of Burr Beard by UVA to set a vision and goal for the future of the station. Can suggestions be voiced? Absolutely, but I think it is naive to believe that you are somehow going to stop these changes from being implemented.

2. Some people have made Burr Beard the focus of their discontent. I do think Burr is being the strong arm of UVA, but it is UVA which is insisting on the change and which have worked behind closed doors. If anything it is the university (or more specifically OPA) that should be the focus of your frustrations. The mission statement of the station is changing with the new management, new programming and new goals. Burr is just the tool the university is using to achieve their goals, which you can rightfully infer is to make money and ultimately use the station as a platform for marketing themselves to a wider audience. It’s nice and idealistic to believe that all of us don’t have a price which we sellout and still find ourselves morally acceptable, but the fact is we do. Are you really willing to make a personal judgment on Burr without looking at yourselves as well? It’s a double edged sword; my guess is a lot of TJU-ers either get a paycheck from UVA or use the academic reputation of UVA to move forward in life.

3. Since the vision and goals are changing, the staff is expendable, the shows are expendable and the audience is expendable. With the change some staff/shows will be lost (due to personal decisions and programming decisions), but other staff/shows will be brought in to the new vision. With the change some listenership will be lost, but other listenership will gained. It is elitist and obtuse to think that you are not expendable just because of your tenure at the station. WTJU will not be the station it has been for the past 50 years; yes it is unfortunate but necessary to achieve UVA’s ultimate intent.

Obviously lots of us (including myself) disagree with some aspects of the new vision, its’ implementation and goals, but as I said we do not own the station. It is not our decision that these changes be implemented; we are being afforded the opportunity to voice some recommendations and still have an outlet for our artistic expression. I am not saying that this doesn't deserve some push back, just that we need to be realistic of our role in the new WTJU organization.

Let's be reasoned and productive in our conversations.

-Mark (Brother Jimmy "The Truth")

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