What musical experience most set you on the path to a career in radio?
When I was a kid, I wanted to be the Frost Bank Time and Temperature lady. I was obsessed – I used to call her several times a day, and I still know the number by heart. Voicing KUT & KUTX’s underwriting is about as close as I’ll get to that. I’ve loved music since I was young, too; I was a latchkey kid in the early days of MTV. So I guess working in public radio combines two childhood obsessions. I deejayed in college but thought that was the end of the line; I didn’t want to work for commercial radio, and I never associated public radio with music that wasn’t classical or jazz. In 2005, I moved to Minnesota and, soon after, started working at The Current, which is the Twin Cities’ version of KUTX. I lived in MN for ten years, but couldn’t shake my homesickness for Texas, so I set my sights on KUTX. In 2015, I Goodwilled all my wool tights and came back home for this job.
What’s your favorite Austin music experience so far?
Back in ’99, my friend Jordan and I decided we were going to try our luck at SXSW, sans wristbands. We ended up having this wild weekend where we got into an at-capacity Flaming Lips show for free, drank beer backstage with the bands at Waterloo Park, ate dinner at Stubb’s with Guided By Voices, and then talked our way into a late-night show featuring Built to Spill (with the GBV guys in tow.) The following year, I attended SXSW with a full press badge and had no memorable experiences whatsoever.
My most recent memorable experience was the very first Rock the Park we put on, back in 2016. I was new at my job, the event was something of an experiment, and I was feeling generally nervous about it. We had a great turnout, and when Spoon’s Jim Eno showed up with his kid, it felt totally full-circle – like Austin was welcoming me home.
Why public rather than commercial radio?
I’ve only ever worked in public radio and I recognize what a privilege it is. We get to take risks here that our commercial colleagues can’t afford to, even though a lot of them are music lovers, too. We get to help propel emerging bands and artists to a level where commercial stations will pay attention to them. We’re allowed to play music that’s really meaningful to our listeners. The difference is member support, and I’ll never take that for granted. Our members are everything.
How do you spend your time when you’re not spinning records on the air?
I’m actually pretty boring. Because I work a lot of live music events for KUTX, when I’m not working, I just want to watch Netflix and hang out with my spouse and kid. I rarely stay up past 11. I got a degree in Creative Writing, so occasionally I write. Lately, I’ve gotten into baking. I think it’s not long before I start telling kids to get off my lawn.
Finish the sentence: “Austin Music Is ….”
… the sound of home. I enjoyed my years in Minnesota, but there were some days where homesickness would get the best of me. I’d be listening to Sir Douglas Quintet or Spoon or Freddy Fender while trudging through the snow, it would conjure in my mind a backyard barbecue on a warm day with everybody drinking Lone Star tallboys, and I’d come close to tears. (Or sometimes I’d actually cry, and the tears would literally freeze on my face.) Texas is just where I belong.