Monday, June 21, 2010

8. Letter from DJ Alumna Elizabeth Stark to WTJU Staff

Dear Burr, Jane, Rob and Gayle,

I'd like to introduce myself. My name is Elizabeth Stark and I was a rock DJ at WTJU from 1998-1999 and again from 2001-2003. I have lived in Brooklyn with my husband, Brian Campbell, also a former DJ, for the past 7 years. As a DJ I was always very involved, especially with the 1999 rock marathon, I have also come to down for marathons, and hosted marathon related benefits since I moved. We have also continued to donate to WTJU throughout the years.

I understand there are changes afoot at the station and wanted to write to you with my concerns. I have always fought for more rock programming during the day, not less. Rock doesn't have consistent daytime listenership because it doesn't have consistent time slots. You know, the whole 2-4 except on Fridays thing. But I have always found that this daytime slot is worth preserving, it is when many of the older DJs have the chance to present the very best of TJU rock. Among the many greats that have held the daytime slot are, Renee Crist (Ground Rule Double Dutch was the first show I heard on TJU and it ignited my love for the station), Rob Sheffield, Tyler Magill, Dominic Devito, Gay Church, Davis Salisbury, and, of course, Gold Finger. Daytime rock is essential and I urge you to please reconsider the programming changes. Just because one likes rock music does not mean they don't like to sleep.

I also understand that there is talk of a popular music rotation, a la WNRN. This absolutely flies in the face of everything the station stands for and will completely undermine the integrity of the station. A few weeks ago my husband and I were driving down 29 towards Charlottesville, and, as soon as we came into range, we tuned in to WTJU. Mysteriously creeping over the radio waves was a sermon set to electronic music (Tyler Magill's show). It was long and irreverent, and exactly the thing the sets our station apart. The music of WTJU is fueled by the DJ's passion and knowledge, not the CMJ music charts. It is a similar debate that takes place in media, long form vs. the soundbite. Music does not need to be consumable. Music needs to reflect the passion and expertise of the DJ. This is what the station has always stood for, and to move away from free form radio would be an absolute tragedy.

If the mandated playlist goes into effect, we will be forced to seriously consider our allegiance and financial support of the station. I understand that many of these changes are inevitable, but please, please do not enforce playlists. It will be the end of an amazing community radio station.

I look forward to hearing from you soon. Thank you for your consideration.

Elizabeth Stark

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