Feature Stories

DJ Mark Schectman Returns to Radio To Host Locals Only on KVIL

Locals Only will be a continuation of Mark Schectman championing local music.
Locals Only will be a continuation of Mark Schectman championing local music. Can Turkyilmaz
After a month off, DJ Mark Schectman will return to the radio airwaves at 8 p.m. Sunday. The longtime host of The Local Ticket has a new show and a new place to call home.

Now on the Entercom-owned Alt 103.7 (KVIL-FM), Schectman’s Locals Only show will be a continuation of his championing of local music. Schectman, born and raised in Richardson, is thrilled to be working for KVIL, a station people still talk about because it aired Ron Chapman’s longtime morning show and Dallas Cowboys games and was a ratings juggernaut.

“KVIL was always on until my mom discovered Kidd Kraddick sometime in the late ’80s, early ’90s,” Schectman says. “KVIL was on 100 percent of the time in the car, at home. That’s what we listened to.”

But KVIL is on a new course as an alternative rock station in time when it’s hard to categorize what’s alternative to people who listen to a vast array of music.

Schectman is up for the challenge.

He’s a University of North Texas alumnus who first worked as a traffic reporter for Total Traffic, Clear Channel’s in-house reporting department. When his position was eliminated, he became a weekend on-air personality for the Edge. He later became the final host of The Adventure Club, a cornerstone of Sunday night specialty shows in North Texas.

Schectman went on to win three Dallas Observer Music Awards, including best local music advocate. He had been in talks with The Ticket (KTCK 96.7 FM/1310 AM) for a couple of months before a 2015 Dallas Observer article urged the sports and lifestyle talk station to have a local music show. That article helped seal the fate for what became The Local Ticket on Sunday nights.

With many guests and a few hundred hours of local music played, The Local Ticket ended in early June after a three-year run.

“It was 100 percent my decision,” Schectman says. “A new opportunity presented itself. It was a really, really difficult decision. More difficult than I thought it was going to be. The show was great. Everybody was happy with it. It was, by all accounts, a success, based on the metrics we were tracking. It was a show I loved doing. I’m so thankful I had the opportunity to do it.”

When KVIL flipped formats from Top 40 pop to alternative late last year, Schectman approached the station about working together. He says this was a “big chance” for him, but he would have been foolish not to try things out on Alt 103.7. He talked to Jeff Catlin, longtime program director at the Ticket, about the situation, and Catlin encouraged and supported him.

“The pros outweighed the cons,” Schectman says. “It was certainly not a decision I took lightly.”

While Locals Only will be an hourlong show for now, there is a chance local music will get more airtime on Sundays and maybe even during the week.

“I will have more of a restricted space on air for right now. But the idea is to continue to grow it.” – Mark Schectman

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“I will have more of a restricted space on air for right now,” Schectman says. “But the idea is to continue to grow it.”

One big benefit of working with Entercom is that it has a high-quality performer’s lounge. Major bands play short sets there, and the hope is to have more local bands perform.

“This is just kind of the beginning,” he says. “The overall goal is to do as much as I possibly can on the station.”

Locals Only airs at 8 p.m. Sundays on 103.7 FM.
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Eric Grubbs is a Dallas-based writer who has published two books, Post: A Look at the Influence of Post-Hardcore 1985-2007 and When We Were the Kids. His writing has been featured in Punk Planet, Popdose, Fort Worth Weekly, The Dentonite and LA Weekly. He supports Manchester City and will never root for Manchester United.
Contact: Eric Grubbs