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Homebound: KXT 91.7 DJs Are Quarantined, but the Show Goes On

Amy Miller’s morning routine has not changed too much in the last week. She still rises and roasts, creating her own coffee like her co-worker taught her. She has an “endless supply,” so there’s plenty to enjoy before she goes to work. But now, instead of her commute, she walks into her coat closet, opens her laptop and sits down at her new homemade studio.

KXT 91.7 program director Amy Miller won't let coronavirus kill the radio star.
KXT 91.7 program director Amy Miller won't let coronavirus kill the radio star.
Kim Leeson

Like many Dallas denizens and 9-to-5ers across the county, the KXT programming director and Local Show host is self-quarantined for the foreseeable future. Earlier this week, Miller and other KXT hosts set up home studios in bedrooms, closets and kitchens. Despite the quarantine necessitated by the rise of COVID-19, the show had to go on. Even with the challenges that come with converting a coat closet to a functional studio, Miller is optimistic.

“None of us have ever experienced anything like this before,” she says, “but so far, it’s been pretty smooth.”

The KXT staff made the call to go remote late last week. With the coronavirus taking its toll on North Texas, they saw the writing on the wall and began prepping home studios. It was all hands on deck: a collaboration between the on-air hosts, engineering and IT. By Tuesday, March 17, all of the station’s staff were working from home, save for a few team members who stayed behind to man the ship at the radio station's offices on Harry Hines Boulevard.

Armed with a laptop, some audio software and a good microphone, Miller is now remoting into the station and coming to you live from the comfort of her coat closet, where she’ll keep working “until told otherwise.”

“I wish I could say I had a walk-in closet,” she says. “I never felt like I needed one until this point.”

All things considered, it could be worse. Miller is accustomed to sitting in one place for long periods of time, and the radio DJ is optimistic about the station’s ability — and the ability of Dallas — to weather this storm. The mission of KXT has always been supporting local artists, she says, and that mission is now more important than ever.

“We’ve been trying to put a focus on local artists who are really struggling right now,” Miller says. “We’re guiding listeners to go online and buy their merch and music.”

Miller’s morale has been buoyed by artists like Rachel Gollay, who is leading a crowdfunding campaign for local artists affected by canceled gigs. Miller also points to Double Wide’s efforts. The bar is hosting audience-less “concerts,” giving Dallas fans the chance to see and support local artists from the comfort and safety of their homes. As Miller notes, it’s “the closest we can get to a live show” at the moment.

“Stuff like that gives me a lot of confidence,” she says. “I have full confidence in our ability as a music community to raise each other up.”

Public radio is being resourceful to keep the music going.EXPAND
Public radio is being resourceful to keep the music going.
Amy Miller

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