Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Marathons and Traditions

I'm writing this on the eve of our fall fund-raising marathon. If you're not familiar with WTJU's history, the term "marathon" might not mean much. But it's a long-standing tradition at this 50-year old station.

For many years, regardless of what was regularly scheduled, WTJU would play classical music non-stop the first week in December. That was the week before mid-terms, and the station did so as a study aid.

Over time, the all-classical week (or marathon) took on a life of its own, and eventually became independent of the scholastic year. The other music departments at WTJU (folk, jazz, and rock) wanted marathons of their own, and so four times a year a different department would mount its own music marathon.

Eventually the marathons, being special events, morphed into fund drives. In an effort to make things a little less chaotic for the listeners (and easier for the volunteer announcers -- these marthons are incredibly labor-intensive undertakings) the classical and jazz marathons were consolidated into a single fall event, and the folk and rock marathons into a single spring fund-raiser.

So if, next week, you tune in and hear classical or jazz music when you've not heard it before, don't panic. We're just carrying on a long-standing tradition. And you can help by calling in your pledge to support WTJU.

I like to think a nice $100 pledge would be a good way to further the tradition.

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