If you tire of Top 40, get your presets ready: KERA announced this morning that its new all-music station, KXT 91.7, will go live on the air at 7 a.m. on Monday, November 9. In a post on the station's Art&Seek blog, Anne Bothwell lists the syndicated shows that made the cut, many of them expected Triple A (Adult Album Alternative) crowd pleasers: World Café, American Routes and Acoustic Café. But there's also Putumayo World Music Hour, which might sound familiar if you have kid-focused world music compilations in the house, and Sound Opinions, which is billed by Chicago Public Radio as "the world's only rock and roll talk show."
For many listeners, the imported shows are enough of a draw. But KXT's launch comes as KERA has stabilized the Art&Seek initiative that began last February, casting the decision-makers as champions of arts and culture in North Texas. The anticipation has mounted for area bands and patrons of the North Texas music scene who feel a station like Austin's KUT 90.5 FM is what's been missing from the pool of support for artists.
When the news of KERA's newly acquired station hit in June, we talked to 90.1 At Night host Paul Slavens about the role of a local-music focused station as part of a thriving scene with persistent bands, music press, clubs, and managers that pull for exposure both inside and outside the area.
"It's great if you have a radio station that is tyin' that whole thing together," Slavens said. "They're pluggin the band, playin' in the club, and having the people from the media on the air talking about the bands that are playing, like, 'I got [the Dallas Observer's] Robert Wilonsky with me this week talking about the five most exciting bands that he's seen in Dallas.' And you get those five things to where they're interrelated and they all feed off each other. And then you can get something happening."
Bothwell takes care to break down exactly how much programming on KXT will be produced locally. Slavens' show, which pits eclectic local artists alongside nationally-known names, will keep its Sunday night slot and move to 91.7 under the name The Paul Slavens Show. The nine to eleven hours of local programming each weekday are ambiguously named, at least for now: there's just KXT Morning Show, KXT Afternoon Show and KXT Evening. And then, KXT Weekend, with a KXT Texas Mix show on Friday ("featuring musicians tied to our state," Bothwell writes).
Pegasus News' Sarah Crisman reported this weekend that KERA officials at a member event played a five-minute sample of what listeners can expect from KXT's programming, something Crisman called a "mostly acoustic set, generally featuring singer/songwriters." It's yet to be seen what character each of the locally-produced shows will adopt. KXT has a lot of room to fit local bands on the air, though, and as Crisman suggested, listener feedback will be key. It's good to know that in this station's case, someone might be listening on the other side of the boards.