Links for news audio are at the bottom of this page.

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While WJMA had covered news almost from the beginning in 1949, it was Chet Burgess who put WJMA into news fulll time. He came to WJMA from the Washington and Lee journalism school as a news intern in 1973. It was an experiment to see if there was enough going on in Central Virginia to justify the expense of a news department. It didn't take long to realize there was a lot happening. Chet returned in the Spring of 1974 as WJMA's first full time News Director. The news department would eventually grow to four with news "stringers" in Madison, Greene, and Louisa Counties. Between 1974 and 1985 the WJMA news department won 18 Virginia Associated Press news awards including Best Small Market News Operation and four Douglas Southall Freeman Awards for Public Service Through Broadcast Journalism. In 1992 Steve Ryerson won Best Spot News Coverage. News Director Phil Goodwin won a national Edward R. Murrow award for feature news in 1994.

When WJMA signed on in the fall of 1949, it was part of the Mutual Broadcasting System. In 1957 a new owner switched to NBC. That lasted until 1961 when WJMA became and independent station. Staff announcers read news from the Associated Press wire. The Virginia News Network brought network state coverage in 1974. In 1984 WJMA affiliated with United Press International for world and national news. Between 1993 and 2003 WJMA had brief affiliations with CBS Radio and CNN Radio. WJMA FM does not currently have any network affiliation and airs almost no world or national news. When WVCV (the former WJMA AM) began simulcasting with WCVA in Culpeper, ABC news made an appearance.

To meet FCC requirements for coverage of local issues, WJMA began Monday at One in the 1960s. It aired at 1 o'clock on Mondays, Over the years Monday at One was recognized by the Virginia Associated Press four times with the Douglas Southall Freeman award for public service through broadcast journalism. Many of the Monday at One programs have been preserved. A few are linked below. Most run 60 minutes.

Monday At One programs
Alfred Burt Carols...aired on the Monday before Christmas 54:00
The Mind's Eye...from the Fall of 1975, radio plays written and produced by 7th graders at Prospect Heights Middle School in Orange. (57:00)
WJMA's 30th anniversary...October 10, 1979 Arch Harrison and Bill Little talk to WJMA founder Welford Sherman and open the phones for listener comments. (60:00)
Pearl Harbor...December 7, 1981 On the 40th anniversary of the attach on Pearl Harbor we look back. Two Central Virginia veterans were on ships in Pearl Harbor on December 7. They give eyewitness accounts of the attack. (63:42))
India...April 12, 1982 News Director Phil Audibert got a scholarship for a trip to India. He brought back these memories. (51:00)
War Stories...June 7, 1982 The guests are veterans Joe Samuels, William H. B. Thomas, Henry DeJarnette, Billy Trimmer, Tommy Brown and program host Phil Audibert (47:08)

WJMA news audio
We have been able to locate a few of the WJMA news "sounders" used over the years. After WJMA ended its affiliation with NBC in 1961, the station had to seek its own news sounders.
The oldest was used from sometime in the early 1960s to early in the 1970s. Arch Harrison recalls that the sounder is "the first few bars of an arrangement of the old nursery song Tom, Tom, The Piper's Son".
This second sounder was adopted when WJMA joined the Virginia News Network.
The final sample dates from 1986.

A sample of the 5pm newscast on WJMA, June 6, 1977.

Virginia News Network newscast from Wells Bunyea, October 9, 1974.

Hurricane Agnes struck Central Virginia in late June of 1972. Here's an edited version of WJMA's 5 O'clock News round up story on Agnes. This was in the days before WJMA had a dedicated news department. This edited report runs almost 2 minutes. The full cut runs 9 minutes. It includes Alex Formwalt, Ross Hunter and Arch Harrison.

This story of a balloon ride won an Associated Press award for Best Small Market Feature story for Phil Audibert. Phil Audibert says this is his favorite feature story.

Here's a 1984 newscast voiced by Tom Graves. This sample has been edited for length.

In 1994 Phil Goodwin's feature story "Water Discovered" about the rehabilitation of a drinking fountain on Main Street in Orange was chosen by the Radio Television News Directors Association as the best in the country among small market radio stations. The story first won in RTNDA Region 13 consisting of stations in Delaware, Maryland, The District of Columbia and Virginia. It then went to national competition where it won again. Phil traveled to the national RTNDA meeting in Los Angeles where Andy Rooney presented the award to Phil. As he handed Phil the award, Rooney said "I heard your story. The writing was good." Phil says it was the highlight of his career. Pictures of the Murrow Award at in the Printed Items gallery. To hear the story again, click here.

WJMA News staff and awards

WJMA's news staff
(we're a bit shaky on some of the dates, so assistance would be appreciated.)

Chet Burgess, intern-summer 1973; News Director June 1974-- July 1976
Phil Audibert, stringer 1974--1976; ND 1976--1982; stringer 1982-1984
Patricia McArver, stringer 1978--1982; News Director 1982-1984
John Lee, ND August 1984--August 1986
Dave Blount, ND 1986-1987
Lila Young, ND 1987--
Tina Page Eschelman, ND 19?? -- 19??
Hillary Homzie, ND 19??--1991
Steve Ryerson, ND 1991--1992
Phil Goodwin, ND 1993-present (the News Director position was vacant when
Phil took the job in 1993)

Bob Barnett, stringer, Madison County
Mitzi Clark, stringer Greene County
Rob Eure, stringer
Jane Gardner, stringer
Patricia Hammil, stringer, Madison County
Ann Harrison, stringer/intern
Reid Harrison, stringer/intern
Andy Lax, stringer
Dudley Littlehales, stringer, Madison County
Dorothy Mench, stringer
Mary Moore, stringer/intern
Barbara Potter, stringer, Louisa County
Jean Purcell, stringer 1961--
Cotton Puryear, stringer
Kiki Steele, stringer/intern
Chuck Strom, intern
Bill Woolfolk, stringer/intern, summer 1983

WJMA News Awards
VAB = Virginia Association of Broadcasters
VAPB = Virginia Associated Press Broadcaster
RTNDA = Radio Television News Directors Association

1975 (VAPB)--Chet Burgess, News Director
Best Non-metro Spot News Coverage--Louisa County judge shooting

1976 (VAPB)--Chet Burgess, News Director
Best Non-metro Feature: “Visions of America”
also recognized by the American Revolution Bicentennial Commission
presented, Richmond, VA May 14, 1977

1977 (VAPB)--Phil Audibert, News Director
Douglas Southall Freeman Award for Public Service through Radio Journalism for “Monday At One”
Outstanding Effort by an Individual Reporter
Best Feature Balloon Ride ?
Best Editorial
presented May 13, 1978

1978 (VAPB)--Phil Audibert, News Director
Best Documentary, Phil Audibert, “North Anna Power Station”
Best Feature, Phil Audibert, on struggling Gordonsville songwriter Duke Merrick
Douglas Southall Freeman “Monday At One
presented May 19, 1979

1979-- ??



1982 (VAPB)--Patricia McArver, News Director
Outstanding News Operation in Virginia (A first for WJMA)
Best Feature or Human Interest Story--Barboursville Vineyards
Best Coverage of a Continuing News Story, Phil Audibert, uranium mining
Douglas Southall Freeman Award for Public Service through Radio Journalism for “Monday At One”
presented May 14, 1983, Fredericksburg VA

1983 (VAPB)--Patricia McArver, News Director
Best Feature or Human Interest Story, Phil Audibert, Shenandoah Park bears
Best Year Round Sports Coverage, Tom Graves
Distinguished Service Award to Arch Harrison
presented May 5, 1984, Williamsburg, VA

1985 (VAPB) John Lee, News Director
Outstanding News Operation in Virginia
Best Coverage of a Continuing News Story
Best In-Depth Series
Best Feature, Phil Audibert, Civil War soldier burial
Best Spot News Coverage
(Monday At One still on the air)

1992-Steve Ryerson, News Director
Best Spot News Coverage, Steve Ryerson

1994 (RTNDA)-Phil Goodwin, News Director
National Edward R Murrow award for Phil Goodwin’s feature “Water Discovered”

2003 (VAPB)-Phil Goodwin, News Director
Meritorious Award for Continuing News Coverage, Phil Goodwin, Louisa murder trial

2004 (RTNDA)-Phil Goodwin, News Director
Regional Edward R Murrow Award: Feature Reporting, Phil Goodwin, Ernie Crane obituary
2004 (VAPB)-Phil Goodwin, News Director
Superior: Feature/Human Interest, Phil Goodwin, “Crane Obit”
Meritorious: Outstanding News Operation, Non-metro

2007 (RTNDA)-Phil Goodwin, News Director
Edward R Murrow Award, Small Market Newscast of the Year, 5pm 10/11/2006

2008 (RTNDA)-Phil Goodwin, News Director
Regional Edward R Murrow Award, Spot News Coverage, “Buried Man”
2008 (VAB)
Outstanding Feature Reporting, Phil Goodwin, "Maytag Turns 100"
Outstanding Editorial, Phil Goodwin, "Don't Break The Law"
presented June 27, 2008 at Virginia Beach, VA; 71st Annual Meeting

2009 (RTNDA)-Phil Goodwin, News Director
Regional Edward R Murrow Award, Use of Sound, Phil Goodwin “Montpelier Races”

2009 (VAB)
presented June 27, 2009 at ; 72nd Annual Meeting


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