With the 27th annual Dallas Observer Music Awards ceremony taking place this Wednesday, December 9, at The Bomb Factory, we're highlighting some of the nominees for this year's awards. And when we say these radio shows are the "Best," don't just take our word for it: We polled 200 local music experts to pull together the nominees this year, so they come on pretty good authority.
In 2015, you might be fooled into thinking that radio is irrelevant. After all, don't most of us listen to the majority of our music on Spotify or on iPhones? Yet there's still a very real place for radio in the conversation, and Dallas is blessed with some strong examples of why that's true. Maybe you dig your favorite weekly radio show because there’s a sense of nostalgia, a desire to go back to the time when radio was the only programming available, you insufferable goddamn hipster. More likely, though, you just want something great to listen to that you yourself don’t have to curate.
And that’s where Dallas’ DJs and radio hosts come in. It used to be that local music got very little play on Dallas’ airwaves, but that just isn’t true anymore. At this point, you can find local music talk on a sports radio station, which is nothing short of impressive. Beyond that, we’ve got a great bunch of champions for local (and good) music. These five are among the best.
The Hardline on KCTK 96.7
You wouldn’t think that a rush hour drive-time show on a sports radio station would involve much discussion of music, but that’s only because you’re not listening to The Hardline. It doesn’t hurt that co-host Mike Rhyner and show producer Daniel Balis are both actively playing in local bands, and are fully capable of steering co-host Corby Davidson’s indie-bro tendencies in the right direction. Their occasional segment “Fun With Country Music” is easily the best skewer out there of country’s worst, and perhaps the funniest segment on radio at its best.
The Paul Slavens Show on KXT 91.7
As a resident O.G. of Dallas music, Paul Slavens knows a thing or two about cultivating an incredible playlist of mostly local acts. The weekly playlists are infinitely more impressive than any mixtape you’ve ever made, so much so that you’ll find yourself stalking the KXT blog to find the track listing so that you can quickly start building a Spotify playlist that will impress all of your music nerd friends. Because Slavens doesn’t stick specifically to the local-only format, he’s able to cherry-pick the best that indie (and other genres, including old soul and the occasional electronic track) has to offer.
The Local Ticket on KCTK 96.7
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We pretty much willed The Local Ticket into existence here at the Dallas Observer, so it's not too surprising that we've paid attention to how it's developed. After his run with The Local Edge came to an end last year, and an Observer campaign to bring a local music show to Sportsradio 1310 The Ticket, Mark Schectman began pouring a couple hours of local tunes onto the Dallas airwaves on Sunday evenings in the spring of 2015. Like Slavens, Schectman doesn't stick to an exclusively local format, but we interpret that as an ability to make Dallas music fit into a broader national music conversation.
Live From the Underground on DeepEllumOnAir.com
What started as a side-project for college students at UT-Arlington has now transformed into the best place on radio (of sorts) to hear local underground hip-hop. Dallas’ hip-hop radio is filled with mainstream favorites, and it’s harder than ever to find a (new and relevant) local artist on the airwaves. Via Deep Ellum On Air's Live From the Underground, though, you can get a weekly dose of Dallas hip-hop on Friday nights, complete with interviews with local artists, track premieres and excellent hip-hop playlists. Soon enough, LFTU might just be the key to Dallas’ inarguably excellent rap scene getting some broader attention as founder Jay Wil seeks to expand his reach across the country.
The Reunion Live on TheReunion.me
In 2015, radio shows and podcasts fit right alongside each other in the same category. The Reunion takes its name from La Reunion, a socialist utopian community founded in Dallas in the mid-1800s. In 2015, it serves as a place for musical exploration and plenty of good old fashioned local weirdness. Once a week, The Reunion hosts thinkers, musicians and local bands for discussion, tunes and the occasional fart joke. If you enjoy highbrow (and occasionally not-so-highbrow) talk of music, art and culture, The Reunion is a must-add to your podcast rotation.