Music Business

Why Should Anyone Want to Go Into Radio Now Anyway?

This blog grew out of the article Rocks Off wrote Wednesday about Alvin's "Gulf Coast Rocker" KACC 89.7, the last traditional rock station on the Houston FM radio dial and, not coincidentally, a station completely unsupported by advertising revenue. As we were talking to Mark Moss, KACC's only full-time employee -- the rest of the station is in fact staffed by Alvin Community College students -- a somewhat unsettling question slowly dawned on us.

Rewind: KACC: "Gulf Coast Rocker" Is Houston's Last Great FM Hope

Considering the sterilized, robotic, controlled-playlist environment that has become standard in corporate radio -- especially around Houston -- why should any young person want to be a DJ for a living these days?

Moss, who acts as KACC's station manager, program director, music director and possibly janitor (we didn't ask), admits he's seen a decline in the number of students interested in radio as a career. But that is at least partially offset by what an example the station itself has become.

As he told us Wednesday, many students who work at KACC name it as their favorite radio station overall. As DJs, they're also so well-trained that sometimes they get complaints from listeners who expect KACC to be a commercial station.

"That's one thing unfortunately our listeners don't quite understand sometimes -- that we're a laboratory for the communications department at ACC," Moss says. "So sometimes if we're doing something wrong or if we irritate them, they complain as if we're a commercial station. But remember these are still students on the air, and they're learning."

Other areas of radio are more practical, and perhaps more pleasant, for budding broadcasters than music. KACC also airs high-school football and baseball games, so students can learn the ins and outs of play-by-play and production. It also maintains a news department. But in Moss' eyes, even commercial stations have fallen down on the job in areas where radio used to be most vital.

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Chris Gray has been Music Editor for the Houston Press since 2008. He is the proud father of a Beatles-loving toddler named Oliver.
Contact: Chris Gray