From the Fall 2015 issue of the UVA Magazine:
When UVA’s Black Student Alliance rallied in fall 2014 to protest police actions in Ferguson, Missouri, Will Mullany (Col ’16) was there with his tape recorder, interviewing students and capturing their speeches and poems on the Lawn for “Black Lives Matter,” a special programming segment for WXTJ, UVA’s newest radio station.
The segment won a Silver Microphone Trophy Award from the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System for best documentary. It was a chance, says Mullany, to document student voices on Grounds and showcase the power of radio storytelling. “NPR and the relatively recent podcast boom have blown the whole radio field wide open and there isn’t much you can’t do in that domain right now,” says Mullany, co-director of WXTJ. “A radio station can be something greater than just songs being played in your car.”
For Mullany and the nearly 150 other students who make up the station, WXTJ isn’t just driving music. It’s a cultural force, a community of students sharing music and stories, hosting listening parties in their houses and booking concerts on Grounds and in Charlottesville.
WXTJ, which began streaming online as WTJX in October 2013 but this year changed its call sign, is one of three radio stations broadcasting from Grounds and is the only one entirely staffed by students. The other two, WTJU and WUVA, offer some opportunities for students. Nathan Moore, station manager for WTJU, wanted to create more of those opportunities, so in spring 2013 he brought the student radio project to Hannah Patrick (Col ’14), then a WTJU student intern. Patrick brought in WTJU student DJ Corrigan Blanchfield (Col ’15) as WXTJ’s first programming director, and the two set about building a following while Moore and WTJU’s engineer, Pete Yadlowsky (Engr ’80, ’82), built the new station from old, finicky parts lying around WTJU’s studio in Lambeth Commons. Moore still serves as an adviser for WXTJ.