the annual WTJU Rock Marathon is this week!

February 13th, 2012 · 1 Comment · By

As I’ve written many times in the past, WTJU is one of my favorite cultural institutions in Charlottesville, and the seasonal Marathons are of course the highlights of WTJU’s year. This season it’s the Rock Departments’ turn, and it should be a notable event for any lover of great music in the area.  I grew up listening to WTJU, have cherished adolescent memories / cassette tapes of their past Marathon shows, and I’ve been honored to be a volunteer at the station and an active participant in the Marathon for several years now (this Marathon marks my fourth anniversary with the station.)

The Marathon, of course, is a week-long, round-the-clock specialty programming, focusing on specific artists, labels, genres, or themes (though the new DMCA regulations that went into effect last year have seriously limited the amount of artist-specific shows we can do — and it’s forced the DJs to come up with some creative loopholes to do so anyway!)  This years marathon starts at 6am Monday morning (in just a few hours!) and runs through until the same time one week from now.

Here’s an overview of this years schedule (click to enlarge):

… and you can read more detailed synopses of these shows here on WTJU’s website.

As always it’s chock full of good programming.  We were asked by the new management to sort of come up with a specific “theme” or “hook” for the marathon this year, and basically we’re going to focus on the history of community radio, indie-rock, college radio, etc as a valuable and ongoing American subculture; Michael Azerrad has agreed to choose the playlist for a show based on his (excellent) book Our Band Could Be Your Life (read our review of it here); Tyler is doing a tribute to musicians and bands who have DJed at WTJU over the years; 80’s Rock DJ alums That Girl and Spot are coming back to host a show on Saturday night… and of course, arguably the whole continued existence of WTJU itself as a non-commercial, freeform station is a continuation of all of those great traditions.

For the second year in a row we’re bringing a live band into the studio every weeknight; past participants Corsair and Borrowed Beams of Light, recent WTJU favs the Fire Tapes, Cville punk alums Girl Choir, and a really excellent and world-renowned band called Mountains (who are also playing in Cville Monday night — more on that later today!) Those are all gonna be a from 5 to 6pm, Mon-Fri…

We’ve also decided to do something fun and poll all WTJU volunteers past and present to scientifically determine the greatest 50 songs of all time.  So we’ll count down 10 of them every weeknight between 6 and 7!

We’re also bringing back the fun tradition of zooming in on a particular year of Rock History one year at a time, in an every-ten-years pattern; because this is 2012, we’ll be doing individual shows dedicated to songs from the year 1962, from 1972, 82, etc. every night at 7! We’ve done it for past marathons and it’s always been really fun.

I’ll try to give a full run-down of each day of the week here on the blog, which I may or may not be able to keep up with depending on how much time I spend on-air this week (Spoiler: a lot), how much sleep I get, and how sane I feel. But just for starters, here’s what’s coming up for Monday: There’s a tribute to the classic NY bands of Max’s Kansas City at 9am; I’ll be hosting a Doo-Wop show at 10:30 (I tried one last year, but a University-wide power outage knocked us off the air!); Robin will be doing a Muscle Shoals Soul show in his usual 12-2pm Soulful Situation timeslot; Tyler’s WTJU on WTJU show airs at 2; newly-formed band of old Cville punk vets (Maynard Sipe, Matt Datesman, and Charlie don’t-know-his-last-name) Girl Choir are playing live on air at 5pm; at 6:00 the Top 50 countdown begins with the 50th-best through 41st-best songs of all time; at 7:00 Blair from the Garage Sale, Colin from Grits&Gravy, and myself will be playing the best songs from the year 1962; Matt will be playing all (or most) of the songs sampled on the Beastie Boys’ Paul’s Boutique at 9:00; Mitchell will explore the many projects of the excellent rapper/producer MF Doom from 11-1; Vic will pay tribute to disco legend Larry Levan at 1am; and the freshly-reinstated Hep Imp will school us all in Post Industrial History Lessons from 3am to 6am.

Phew! That’s a lot for one day, and that’s only 1/7th of the schedule. Like I said I’ll try to provide more day-by-day breakdowns/reminders during the week, but you should go ahead and print out that pdf and mark your calendars and circle your favorites anyway. I’ll also try to write in at some point in the afternoon about Monday night’s show at the Southern; both Mountains and Amen Dunes are playing, which is really exciting. Stay tuned!

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