John Swift was Director of Productions for Clear Channel Houston until 2009, but his latest project is taking him off the airwaves and into the world of streaming audio with the launch of his Internet station, Radio Katy.
Rocks Off has a love/hate relationship with Houston's biggest western suburb. One of our main complaints is the populace's seeming unwillingness to leave Katy for any length of time, and giving them a dedicated source of music isn't likely to end that unwillingness any time soon. Still, Katy's population continues to boom, and it sports some of the finest school music programs in Texas.
Perhaps the time is right for the suburb to have its unique voice heard.
"I felt Katy, like many other small cities, needed a voice on the air," says Swift via email. "We needed a medium similar to terrestrial radio to share thoughts and ideas without the expense of a costly transmitter or FCC approval. We needed a place to share information that we consider to be newsworthy to Katy and our surrounding communities."
Swift's other goal is to begin helping local musical talent reach a wider market, a goal becoming more and more important as the threat of KTRU's shutdown continues to loom ahead. Though access to the FM dial would still disappear almost completely for local acts, perhaps two dedicated online presences could equal the boost that the Rice staff currently gives to the Houston unsigned.
"We have lots of talented local musicians, overlooked by today's terrestrial radio and record companies, [who] deserve more," said Swift. "I am currently accepting music for our stream from a variety of artists in and around Katy, Texas."
Submitting music for review by the station is as easy as sending an MP3 to Swift's email address, radiokaty at aol dot com. The criteria for selection thus far is only that members of the band be from the Katy area, the music is professionally recorded, mixed, and mastered, and that the lyrics are family-friendly. No cursing.
Swift plans to expand the stream into new venues as the station grows, such as live on-air performances. A test stream will be started soon, and Radio Katy is expected to launch later this month or in early March.
"My goal is simple yet important in that I have the power to give Katy, Texas, a voice for all to hear thanks to today's technology," says Swift. "I hope to help not only my community but other communities to do the same."
Jef With One F is the author of The Bible Spelled Backwards Does Not Change the Fact That You Cannot Kill David Arquette and Other Things I Learned In the Black Math Experiment, available now.