Not More Fucking Banjos!

AHHHHHHH!

Burr Beard, the man brought in to revive WTJU from its slump, is proposing turning major blocks of programming to “Americana” or “Roots” – generally, folk, blues, country and country rock – making that the new “station identity.” The notion sickens me so badly I couldn’t even make it through the proposal.

Ok, I’m all for banjos and bluegrass and “Wagon Wheel,” and ironic tattoos and Pabst Blue Ribbon, but enough already! This Americana thing is not the end-all-be-all. (Whatever happened to rock and roll?) It’s already been an excruciating decade of weekend-redneck toothless hipsters forming Hank Sr. tribute bands. I’M OVER IT. Moving to Brooklyn, taking up banjo and heroin and getting a tattoo of bacon does not make you an artist. ENOUGH!

Let me say this as clearly as I can: WHITE TRASH IS NOT COOL. Occasionally amusing, but that’s it. Racist misogynists in slave-trade wife-beater tank tops make for distracting cable television, but they are not an ideal to be actively sought after.

Anybody who knows me has heard this rant already. I love Jim Waive – I love the Hogwaller Ramblers. More power to people who work in this genre from a position of authenticity. I think Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings are two of the most gifted songwriters/performers of our time. But that doesn’t mean everybody should be all dust bowl fabulous. ENOUGH ALREADY!

PLEASE, PLEASE don’t do this, Mr. Beard. Please reconsider reformatting WTJU. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE!

And you! You fucking reader! Get involved! Go here. Read the article, download and read the proposed schedule changes and then write these people:

Burr Beard: bb3vx@eservices.virginia.edu
Carol Wood, Assistant Vice President for Public Affairs: csw8a@virginia.edu / cwood@virginia.edu
Marian Anderfuren, Director of Media Relations: manderfuren@virginia.edu
Robert Sweeney, Senior Vice President for Public Affairs and Development: rds2j@virginia.edu

They must hear our voices! It’s not yet too late. Come to the meeting at Zehmer Hall on July 12th at 5:30pm. Solidarity. Save Charlottesville’s last true cultural outpost from being Arbitronned!

6 Responses to “Not More Fucking Banjos!”

  1. Stephen Says:

    Here’s a letter I just sent to Burr Beard.

    Mr. Beard,

    I am writing you as a concerned citizen and WTJU fan to urge you to reconsider the proposed complete overhaul of WTJU. I understand that you have been brought in with a specific mission to reshape WTJU, make it more profitable, and involve students more, and I applaud those goals. I also understand that some changes will be made. This, in itself, does not worry me. What worries me is the notion of adopting a “roots” format and a rotational playlist system.

    WTJU is a true community resource with a long history of eclectic – even rare – programming. To scrap this proud and lauded tradition for an “Americana” format, in the hopes that alt/country is still popular ten years from now seems short-sighted and risky. I, for one, have little use for this type of programming. (Though I do enjoy Sunset Road, Leftover Biscuits, Jumping on the Bed and other folk/country-based programs on the WTJU line-up.)

    I understand your drive to improve WTJU, but think you might be better served working on fundraising activities: upgrade the website, community outreach, grow the signal and expand the listenership. There is a larger audience for WTJU EXACTLY AS IT IS NOW, but there is very little station outreach. WCNR and WNRN sponsor events, set up tents, distribute stickers and t-shirts, etc.

    Please don’t succumb to baby-with-the-bathwater syndrome. Your changes stand a good chance of destroying the very things which make TJU great.

    Thank you for your valuable time.

    Stephen Barling
    UVa alum, local musician, photographer and writer.

    434 806-3696
    stephenbarling@live.com

  2. Oh how you rock

  3. barndoorcowlegs Says:

    man- “getting a tattoo of bacon” is one of your best (I’ve already heard the heroine/banjo bit before)
    fine work my ol’ chum, see ya on the picket line!

  4. good work here cripsy.

  5. Jota Erre Says:

    Right on! Was there a Beard show today? Because I heard a couple hours of wanna-be Johnny Cash and “aw shit y’all I can’t sing but fuck you here’s a song” and “I let the trailer door slam on his drunken ass again” stuff throughout.

    You’ve hit the nail right on the head: there is a HUGE difference between authentic roots music, be it Appalachian, Bakersfield, Texarkana, etc, and Camp that’s so self-conscious and hackneyed that it’s KITSCH. Visual and aural posing.

    Who wants hours of that day after day? Not me. It’s right up there with the ZZ Top, Tom Petty secretary rock crap on WWWV.

  6. Stephen Says:

    The bastard’s just doing this because it’s his baby! He’s an Americana nut! Here’s his online radio show, the Americana Top 20! (Blech!)
    http://airplaydirect.com/music/onairvillage/stats.php

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