In his own words, Chuck Taylor is “coy” about his record collection. When Taylor first began to volunteer at local radio station WTJU in 1979—a few years removed from English and philosophy at Elon, then stocking vending machines for the University of Virginia—rumor had it that the largely student-run station sought him out so it could access his albums.
Chuck Taylor, involved with local radio station WTJU since 1979 and GM since 1993, retired on January 1, but says there may be new sounds from him in the next year.
“There were jokes about it,” said Taylor during a recent phone interview. “One of the vending machine areas was at WTJU, and I got into the habit of taking my lunch break there and talking to the announcers. When I first came in, they were probably a little freaked out…I was just this guy who showed up and suddenly started talking about music with a lot of knowledge.”
After 30 years of work with WTJU and more than 15 as general manager of the station, Taylor confirmed that he’d retired as of January 1—a move he’d considered since 2006. “WTJU’s sort of a funky place, with a lot of volunteers in there,” said Taylor, who also said he’d like someone else to have a chance to steer the station. “At the same time—and this has been since the ’90s—WTJU is a department at the university.” Taylor explained that “more of a corporate-type atmosphere behind the scenes” made for occasional difficulties.
An example? “It got very difficult to handle procurement for the station,” said Taylor. “It’s been probably four years since we bought CDs. It’s just too complicated through the system. It’s doable, but it takes a lot of paperwork…”
In 2008, Taylor helped ease WTJU’s transition from Student Affairs to UVA’s Department of Public Affairs—a move that led to the start of a UVA Today radio show, which Taylor considers a boon for a Corporation for Public Broadcasting station. He said last week that he “firmly believes that’s one of the best places for WTJU.”
“While maintaining a strong emphasis on music, I’ve been slowly recruiting and pushing for good ideas for public affairs and news,” said Taylor.
In the immediate future, Taylor said that there have been applicants for the general manager position, and he will be involved in the selection process in some form. “They’re obviously using me for assistance,” he said. “There are no other positions like mine at the university, so I’m going to be doing some assisting with that.”
WHAT WE’RE LISTENING TO
“In the Time it Takes,” by X (from See How We Are)
“Mr. Tang,” by Rodrigo y Gabriela (from Live: Manchester and Dublin)
“Bluebird,” by Buffalo Springfield (from Buffalo Springfield Again)
“Do What You Want” (live), by Bad Religion (from All Ages)
“Tango ’til They’re Sore,” by Tom Waits (from Rain Dogs)
But, to some degree, Uncle Chuck will keep his distance. “I’ve been involved with the station for so long that it’d be incredibly difficult for the person coming in to follow me if I’m still hanging around the station,” he said.
Here’s the thing about Taylor’s music collection—his albums and, more importantly, the awe-inspiring well of audio knowledge he’s drawn from over the years: You don’t just pack it in. “I’m not retiring fully. I’m only 57,” he said.
“I have an idea that I’m not quite ready to talk about, to start researching sometime this year, and to see whether this project will be able to launch in the next year or so in Charlottesville,” said Taylor. “And”—as if there was a doubt—“all I can say is that it will involve music.”
Darrell Rose, in creative bloom
When Darrell Rose shares new work, it always raises a question of scale—gig with the Wailers or a percussion class for kids, new paintings in a local gallery or a new t-shirt design. We think it’s all worth a look and listen, and met with Rose last week to hear about his free January 16 gig at Milano Café and see his work at McGuffey Art Center’s new members exhibit. Get the full details on the Feedback blog at c-ville.com.
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