Well, a dearth of things to say has never stopped me opening my mouth, so here goes again. These come from several discussions I've had with other DJs. Those opinions that are unsound are mine, and those that are sound can be attributed to them.
Burr Beard's monomaniacal belief in "roots" programming as silver bullet for WTJU's financial success overlooks one crucial fact: there is no room in Charlottesville for another formatted radio station. Charlottesville already has over 30 radio stations serving her (source: here), and Charlottesville is the 230th-largest radio market in America, behind Elmira-Corning NY and behind Winchester Va (source: here).
Burr has had some success with his silver bullet, turning three community college radio stations into more popular media presences. He has been able to increase cumulative audiences, certainly. But he has never worked with a station like WTJU before. I can't speak to what the staffs at those stations were like when he got there, but I will dare say that they were not like ours. Our staff, to be short, know what it is doing with its programming. I believe that this is the first time Burr has dealt with DJs who know what they are doing, who care. I don't think he understands that. Certainly, he seemed taken aback, confused when we didn't just sign on to his cool new idea. He was confused that we might want more than one show to say goodbye to our audiences.
Of course, Burr was ready to go with his silver bullet from jump; he was ready to go with it on July 5th. He had not modified it one iota from the 5th to last weekend's secret meeting. He is not interested in changing it. That plan is the entirety of his professional identity; his career rests on presenting it as panacea. From his attempt to syndicate an Americana Top 20 (which can be found here) to his renaming of every station he can get his hands on to "Roots W___," everything depends on people buying in to him as a guru of Americana. So how can he modify his plan? It would be a repudiation of everything he claims to be worth as a hired hand.
A 30-year professional broadcaster, Beard managed stations since 1988, including WNCW-FM (which he founded) and currently WXLV-FM a full service Americana station in market #68. Beard was part of the beginning of Triple-A and Americana in the late 80's.
Anyway, as I was saying, he was ready to go on July 5th, and isn't interested in changing his philosophy. Anyone who could present alternatives has to go. And here is where his constant stream of offensive behavior starts to make sense. It would be easiest for him to have the vast majority of DJs quit; he only needs a handful of DJs to keep the station on the air, and he is also installing an automated DJ (ostensibly so that WTJU can broadcast from 3-6AM when no-one wants to be on air... uh-huh). The less DJs are around, the less hassle it is making sure everyone plays what he wants to play. So he has gone out of his way to disgust us. Pete Marshall walked, and Emmett Boaz walked over Burr's public derision of Pete. I've come close on a number of occasions. His disregard for the feelings and intellects of the DJs and the community they serve is staggering.
With this in mind, if you support WTJU, that means you are supporting the DJs. Have you been listening to a show for a while, but you've never called? Call the DJ. Tell them. And email Burr Beard at email@example.com. Tell him about that show, how often you listen to it, something you'll always remember about that show, something you did when that show was playing.
Burr is determined to drive the DJs away, so he can say, looks like they really were just whiny babies determined to have their way or nothing. That's not true at all. In this time when management is actively tearing them down, remind the DJs that you care. Burr's way doesn't work precisely because at this station, the DJs care. No amount of chart research or demographic idolatry can replace that.
PS: On last thing. It should be noted that the last station Burr managed, WXLV in Lehigh, PA, wasted very little time in repudiating his philosophy after he left:
...WXLV has embraced the “Free Form” model of radio, allowing on air talent comprised of both students and community volunteers, to play the music they enjoy and can educate the public about.
One wonders what they have to say about Burr Beard. I plan on finding out, personally. It's interesting to note that a couple of days ago, Burr Beard's own webpage, where I and many other people found out about his history, has been taken offline.