Columns

KXT's Sarah Jane Semrad on the Value of Independent Radio

Sarah Jane Semrad's first local show was Course of Empire. And so it began.

Nowadays, SJ is easily one of the most important and hard-working people in our local music community. She's marketing director at KKXT-FM 91.7, a station riveted in local music support, where it's pretty damn satisfying to hear Dallas' Dead Flowers right out of, say, The Jayhawks and Thin Lizzy. A job like hers at a nonprofit station is a tough gig: KXT's giveaways and promotions have to have gold-currency motivational value. They need to move listeners to the point where they don't just dig your station, they donate to your cause, as opposed to marketing in commercial radio, where the goodies and events just have to relate and appeal. As a result of KXT's hard work, her office is (firsthand testimony from your author) a treasure vault: a music geek's holy wonderland of shiny new shrink-wrapped vinyl releases and amazing music merch of all kinds. This is stuff that doesn't go home with the jocks or the bosses, it's essentially exchanged for donations toward their electric bill.

Anyway, SJ may have her work cut out for her at KXT but, lucky for us in the community, it's a labor of love, a deep and genuine level of music fandom all her own. If only all people in her field of work were such fans. The music radio world would surely be a happier, healthier place overall.

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Alan Ayo