Eric Landrum's a bit of an anomaly these days—he actually listens to commercial radio.
And now he's making a push to get Dallas' most discerning listening audiences to do the same. Landrum, who works as promotions and marketing director for the rhythm-based adult contemporary KVMK-FM Movin' 107.5, has recently undertaken a second endeavor: Bringing a more indie rock flavor to the local radio landscape.
"My program director at Movin' said, 'If you could start any radio station, what would it be?' And I said, 'An indie rock radio station,'" Landrum recalls. "We ran it up the flagpole [to the CBS Radio corporate offices], and they liked it." So much so, in fact, that Landrum's indie rock-formatted station, which will be called The Indie-verse and is Landrum's first stab at program directing, is already being broadcast on 105.3 FM HD2, one of CBS' local HD sub-channels. "Our plan is to hopefully have this model duplicated everywhere else."
He laughs. "Isn't that always the plan?"
For the time being, however, Landrum's plan is largely still taking shape.
This much he knows for sure: His station will be an HD channel and not a broadcast one, meaning it will be picked up only by digital HD receivers; in an effort to become more widely available to listeners, the station will start streaming online at some point this summer, possibly as soon as July 1; and the station plans on enlisting the aid of a number of people already entrenched in the local music scene.
"I don't want it to be just radio people," Landrum says. "I want to bring in people who are important to the Dallas indie scene."
So far, he's already enlisted the aid of Jasin Swords, the man behind the music blog DallasDoesIndie.com, a site that's heavy on new music podcasts. That helps—so far, the music that's been uploaded into the station's system mostly comes solely from Landrum's personal collection. He expects it to expand beyond his own preferences in time but also vouches for his own indie cred and knowledge base, listing acts he supports and the fact that, prior to his radio career, he worked in mall record stores. And, yes, he understands that "indie rock" is a broad term.
"It's a culture or attitude more than a style of music," he says. "We'll have Kraftwerk and Bon Iver and everything in between. We're not gonna beat people over the head with [obscure music], but we want to educate them too. You wouldn't play an hour's worth of totally obscure bands; we'll put a Smiths record in there."
Landrum also plans on playing a fair share of local acts—about one an hour, he says. The Indie-verse has already aired tracks from Bridges & Blinking Lights, Black Tie Dynasty, Baboon and The Crash That Took Me, among others. Those, mixed in with listener requests, expected staples (Pixies, Pulp, Morrissey, others) and the more experimental fare he expects to be brought in by a slew of anticipated guest DJs will make up the station's play list.
"We're all looking for that new band," Landrum says. "We all want to be educated. People do want to be cool. You want to impress your friends. [This] is not really radio anymore—and that's what makes it fun."
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