Yesterday morning, on the way in to work, I flipped the dial, as usual, to KKXT-91.7 FM, otherwise known around town as KXT, the just-over-a-year-old music-only NPR affiliate. What happened next was deeply unsettling: I was mentally transported back to Glen Lake Methodist Camp, circa 1996 -- transported to a sweaty room filled with 12-year-olds raising their rockin'est voices in praise to the Lord with the Jars of Clay hit "Flood."
I wondered: Did KXT sell out their frequency to a Christian rock station?
Later that day, I discovered the #KXTfail Twitter hashtag, and witnessed a mild Facebook uproar, too. People are confused -- and pissed -- about hearing song selections from Matchbox Twenty, the Gin Blossoms, Everlast and Green Day on a station they once believed to be all about indie rock, alt-country and other genres that have long gone unappreciated by mainstream radio.
So, today, I called KXT's momma-company, KERA, to find out the what-the-what. And I was told by the veep of radio at North Texas Public Media that nothing is the what, that's what.
It's all about being "inclusive."
"Starting with this year, we are playing more well-known songs and
artists than last year," Jeff Ramirez told me. "This is part
of the natural growth of any new radio station."
I asked him if they knew about the Twitter hashtag and the Facebook comments. He said they did.
"We appreciate the passion that some of our listeners have," Ramirez said, adding that playlist honing is something they've done since KXT's inception. "We've been as responsive as possible and, all along, we've adjusted and edited the playlist. That's something we've been doing ever since we launched over a year ago."
Ramirez said that increasing the mainstream hits is part of KXT's plan to "make sure we're sustainable." But if KXT loses pledges to #KXTfail, their sustainability plan could have the opposite of its intended effect.
All's I know is, I never want to hear that church camp praise band rocking out in my head ever, ever again.