June 21, 2010
To the WTJU community
From Carol Wood & Marian Anderfuren
In advance of this week's meetings, we'd like to provide some context to what's going on at WTJU and to explain a bit more about the road ahead. Our wish is to arm you with facts rather than conjecture and rumor.
As the staff, board members and volunteers who were part of the hiring process heard several times, the time has come to freshen the WTJU format, give it a stronger identification with the University, build listenership, engage more students and, as a result, improve its financial condition. Burr, who was the choice of all the search teams and has 30 years of professional experience, is the right person to lead these changes.
We are talking here about the very survival of WTJU. Its financial condition, to be frank, is not good. The recent fundraisers fell short of their goals, and funds had to be transferred to cover staff members' salaries. Before and during the general manager search, we had approval from the highest levels of University leadership to close the station down if we didn't see a reasonable path toward improvement. That very nearly happened, but, since then, the University has renewed its commitment, going so far as to fund some new and much needed equipment purchases with Public Affairs resources.
We have moved quickly – perhaps too quickly – and for that we apologize. Some of our early discussions needed to remain confidential. The change toward day-parting jazz and rock was made unilaterally; however, those who were part of the search knew that change was inevitable. We must make it easy for listeners to find the music they want to listen to, because building listenership is one of the keys to success.
The WTJU community is passionate and we want to draw on that passion going forward. Many of you have expressed an understanding of the necessity for the station to change in order to survive. Change is often difficult, but together we can make good things happen at WTJU for listeners, students, donors and underwriters.
We look forward to seeing you this Thursday at 5:30 p.m. in the first-floor conference room of 400 Ray C. Hunt Drive.
Marian L. Anderfuren
Director of Media Relations
U.Va. Office of Public Affairs