DFW Music News

What's Probably A Completely Unfair Reaction To KXT's Launch Day Performance

Listen: I get that there are a lot of pressures and issues to deal with when launching a radio station. Really, I do.

But I also get the importance of making a good first impression. And, c'mon, explain this to me: How does a station--one which names itself KXT as a play on our state's abbreviation and one which will go on to play tons of local music over the course of its opening day playlist--start its entire history off by launching with Carlos Santana's "She's Not There"? Really: Explain that to me. Please.

Wilonsky and I spent a good 20 minutes this morning trying to figure that one out--and couldn't for the life of us. We'd both awakened early to catch the station's launch, and we both came up with literally hundreds of other, more suitable options for the station's open.

But maybe I'm harping too much here on the station's first track alone. I'll give you that. Fine. Because, granted, there were some pretty cool moments scattered throughout the day.

For instance, it was pretty awesome to hear Telegraph Canyon's "Shake Your Fist" as the sixth-played song on the station, and the first local product played in its history. So, too, was just a moment ago, when afternoon host Joe Kozera dropped Bosque Brown's "Train Song," as good a song as we've seen from a local in 2009--and one other area stations wouldn't dare touch.

Credit where it's due: Fumbles aside, Kozera seems to be at least having some fun with his afternoon playlist, keeping things unpredictable and lighthearted--and, most importantly, easy-going. Morning show host Gini Mascorro didn't fare as well, sounding nervous and rigid in her delivery when listing the songs she'd played earlier in her playlists in the few moments she appeared on the air this morning.

Not that I'm complaining about the lack of DJ presence on the station thus far--believe me, I'm not. But it would have been nice to hear some excitement this morning as this station--one so many are expecting so much from--as it launched.

It would've been nice to see a little foresight, too, in the song selections: The best and worst part of this, KXT's launch day, has, simultaneously, been its all-over-the-map song selections. Such a free format has its benefits, sure, but today, it just seemed the lowest common denominator indie rock version of JackFM.

And while I'm not going to argue against the merit of Queen and The Rolling Stones or even Moby and Wings, I do have a problem with their recognizable fare being played so early on in the station's history. If you like, fine: Call it a necessary dumbing down of the station's playlist so that it can bee accessible for listeners--Preston Jones of the Star-Telegram did--but it smacks, to me, of a station not respecting its audience, scared to come out guns-blazing and confidently. There's no need to placate; those acts can be heard all over the radio dial. There, is, however, a need to challenge the audiences--respectfully--by playing music the jocks are confident in being great, regardless of whether the audience is already familiar with the songs.

Ultimately, that's been the problem with KXT all day long. Have there been solid songs popping up over the course of the day? Yeah, sure. But it hasn't been wow-worthy. Not at all. And there have been too many errors--CDs skipping, sound cutting out, volume levels coming through the dial unpredictably. Kinda tough to come out the gate with any sort of swagger with these issues.

Seems every legitimate music fan in town is ready to anoint this station as the city's radio savior already. Let's hold our horses there. Is this a promising start? Potentially. But until KXT starts behaving like it knows it can be the best station in town--as opposed to a timid one really hoping that people like it--it won't be.

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Pete Freedman
Contact: Pete Freedman