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Exam Marathon

Students Set Broadcasting Record With Music to Study By Program

Examinations end today for University of Virginia students. So will 11 straight days of round-the-clock music to study by.

The night before examinations began, at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 20, Radio Station WTJU, the University's good music station, opened its "Exam Marathon."

At 6:30 p.m. today marathon will close, exactly 264 hours, more than 500 records, and an estimated 11 pounds of coffee later.

"It was all the students' idea," says George P. WiLson Jr., chairman of the department of speech and drama. "And we sort of let them do what they wanted to within these restrictions - no popular music, no vocalists, and no jazz except from 1 to 5 a.m."

Some 45 student disk-jockeys participated in the program. They were supplied with a coffeepot for making their own, and with cakes, cookies and candy - promptly dubbed "marathon munchies" - sent in by townspeople who listened to the show.

Wilson, who said the marathon set a record for uninterrupted broadcasting in the Charlottesville area, deemed the program a huge success.

"We wondered if people were listening after midnig4t," he said. "Yesterday a student went to sleep at the switch at about 6 a.m. and we found out. Indignant listeners started calling immediately and wanted to know what was making that tic-tic-tic."

All of the music played was by request of the listeners, and Wilson said the phone rang at all hours.

As for the platter-spinners themselves, Wilson said they thought they did some of their best exam studying while they were on the air. Each record played at least 25 minutes, and at the end of that time all the student was required to do was give the station break and put on another record.

The disk-jockey, however, didn't always stop there. Wilson said that several mornings in the 1-5 jazz period, students put on panel discussions on jazz and "anything else they thought about at that time of morning."

Wilson said the station also discovered there are definitely two schools of classical music lovers. "We'd play Mozart," he said, and someone would call demanding a modern composer like Ralph Vaughn Williams. We'd put on a modern and immediately, the Mozart lover would phone again. They really got quite angry."

The station will add two hours broadcasting when it goes back to its regular schedule at the beginning of the second semester on Feb. 9. It will operate then from 4 p.m. to midnight.

WTJU-FM, is a non-commercial station, is sponsored by the department of speech and drama. It operates on a frequency of 91.8 in the FM band. Wilson estimates it has from 500 to 600 "Loyal listeners" in the University area.

WTJU is owned and operated by the Board of Visitors of the University of Virginia.
The opinions expressed by announcers or guests on WTJU are not necessarily the opinions of WTJU or the University of Virginia.