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WTJU radio station signing on at Lambeth

Something new has landed in the Lambeth residence area. And it's not just the latest wave of students.

WTJU, a University-owned radio station broadcast on 91.1 FM, has moved its headquarters from Peabody Hall to Lambeth Commons, and in the process, it has acquired a swankier studio.

"The old studio was wall-to-wall with albums. I could barely move and would always have things falling on me," WTJU classical music announcer Andrew Pratt said. "The new studio has room for growth."

WTJU was forced to move out of its old office back in July while construction began for the underground library that will house Special Collections. The admissions office plans to relocate to Peabody Hall, which meant WTJU needed to find a new station headquarters.

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    Now WTJU shares the same fluorescent-lit building as a student study lounge, a laundry facility and the Lambeth mini-mart.

    The 44-year-old station actually has wanted a new location for quite some time now, said Station Manager Chuck Taylor.

    But finding a space was never easy - until now, when construction basically booted them out of Peabody.

    "It's amazing when they need for you to move ... they'll find" space for you, Taylor said.

    Peabody's size had limited the station's abilities, and the move to Lambeth has allowed the station to put in audio boards and other up-to-date equipment, said WTJU's News Director Vinay Jain, a fourth-year College student.

    "I'm thrilled about it," Jain said of the relocation to Lambeth Commons.

    The news program can now easily incorporate sound bites into their reports, and that the larger space makes it easier to conduct live shows, he said.

    The new studio now has separate rooms for broadcasting, production and news, whereas in Peabody, the station operated out of one room.

    But as in all deals, there have been trade-offs: leaving the highly trafficked Central Grounds for the wilds of Lambeth Field, where recruits don't just walk in off the street.

    But that doesn't mean recruitment efforts are totally stymied.

    "We're hoping to pick up some of the people out here in Lambeth," Taylor said.

    Students, community members and faculty all serve as hosts on WTJU. Their diverse programming ranges from jazz and latin music in the mornings to rock in the afternoons.

    Taylor explained that the station does their lineup by "block programming" so listeners who tune in at the same time of day will hear the same type of programming each day. Taylor said the station's biggest competitor is probably WUVA 92.7 FM, which plays mostly urban, soul and light jazz music.

    But the WTJU fans are loyal.

    "We have a fairly large and dedicated audience after 44 years," Taylor said, explaining he expects to attract different audiences such as students and locals for different shows.