We Got a Killa’ on the Airwaves

We survived midterms. At least, we assume. So far, the halls remain full. Seats – for the most part – are occupied. Those still dedicated hit the books and keyboards, write paper after paper, take quiz after quiz and drink cup of coffee after coffee.

Procrastinators sit idly by, waiting until pressure finally lights the fire under their butt. We could say we do our homework in a timely manner. Then again, if such was this case, you would have been able to read this last week.

But, as per usual, the thriving campus of WTAMU is a rush hour of events. Pertaining to our department, Friday night, October 21st, witnessed the honoring of those in our field at the Communication Hall of Fame Banquet and Ceremony.

For the Rising Stars, those blazing a path of greatness, Paola Albarran, David Meraz and Erin Hartigan found themselves humbled in front of educators, peers, colleagues and guests.

Former WT professors Dr. Butler Cain and Lori Westermann received the Eternal Flame Award for their game-changing contributions to the Communication Department and WT.

Dr. Jerry Hudson, Dr. Paul Matney, Ann Shofner and Misty Mayo Price were inducted into the Communication Hall of Fame. But before we continue, it has to be stated that the Advanced Video crew did an outstanding job. To keep you in the know, prior to each recipient actually receiving the award, a video which highlights each inductee’s history/ accomplishments/ achievements and so forth was shown. Our media professor, jammin’ bassist and fearless digger Randy Ray led this crew. They shot, edited – the whole 9 – these videos. True, it was for a grade; however, upon viewing, you can tell there was more than that fueling the showcase. Call it talent, creativeness or genuine interest in the recipient in question, there existed a dedicated drive, but more on that lately. We have to move forward if we want to go back.

To close the evening, our silent yet strong broadcast engineer, Johnny Story, created a video for the final recipient of the evening. The late A.J. Swope was bestowed The Legacy Award. Despite his short life, he accomplished more than we could dream and influenced the lives of those that were lucky enough to cross his path. No amount of words can do the video justice. We ask you watch for yourself. The link to this video and the others is below:


So, where are we going with all of this?

Destination: DJ of the Week.

If you tune into the station – which you shouldn’t have to because your dial should be locked there – you will get a plethora of personalities. Wednesdays, 9 to 11 in the morning showcases one of our quietest yet strongest. Yes, we have a Killa’ on the loose, as her DJ name boasts. That’s right, DJ Killa’ keeps you company between breakfast and lunch. And we couldn’t be more proud of Keila Valdez.keila-1

To earn DJ of the Week, however, it takes more than vibrant jock breaks and manning the board. Such a prestigious honor inside our humble station is not handed out to anyone. We have standards. And those standards require you to “dig in.” Yes, that’s the famous Randy quote. And it’s used often for a reason.

Keila did, does, and will continue to do just that. She shows up to events, promoting KWTS and our partner-in-crime chapter, NBS, where she holds the title of Events Coordinator. We would say she has her plate full, but it’s more like she is carrying a buffet. Ms. Valdez works with Media Minds (under the Business Department), as Lab Assistant and Live Crew on top of classes and whatever life throws at her.

She considers herself an “old soul trying to live out all of my amazing opportunities.” As a first generation student, she moved from one small town to another (go Canyon, Texas!!!). She spends most of her waking hours in the Fine Arts Complex, making her words the truth. No hour seems too early or too late, as we always see her doing something.

As a DJ, we feel you need to have a love for music. It’s an unarguable requirement. Keila’s is strong, diverse. Name a classic R & B, jazz, rock, Spanish, or hip-hop song, and she’ll sing along, music or not.

keila-2As for her future, sports – more specifically basketball – will play a significant role. We us “will” because we have faith she will make it happen. No need to doubt. One day she will become a media team member or join an advertising campaign for the NBA or WNBA. Why not both? Of course this job is not without travel. Some of the national hotspots she’d like to visit include Chicago, Portland, and the Big Apple. Of course, international travel is always welcome at her doorstep. But one jock break, one event planned at a time.

So how does this involve the Communication Hall of Fame? We did write we would circle back.

Those inducted and honored at Friday’s event have accomplished great, outstanding things. In their respective fields, they are top, the go-to people for those of us wishing to one day be in that seat. But, if you listen to their history and rewind their memory banks, you will learn they were once students. They walked the halls of WT, lugging overpriced books from class to class. They pulled all-nighters, downed coffee and ingested a semester’s worth of information in order to pass the comprehensive final. They sat in the pilot’s chair, cracked the mic, and welcomed listeners to KWTS, The One 91.1. They did what you did; what we are doing right now.

They gained their right to be called a Buff. They fought for the privilege to be called a Communication Graduate. They earned the awards they carried home with them that night.

And we have been extremely humbled and are forever indebted to this handful of pioneers for enriching West Texas A and M’s grand history.

Keila will no doubt be one of these greats. Her start is just that, an origin to a bigger, more extravagant story. It’s not a race, more like an adventure. But as with any amazing journey, there’s always that first step.

Keila is on the move, traveling towards her unique horizon, yet her feet walk upon a familiar path.

AJ, Dr. Cain, Dr. Hudson and the rest are up ahead, silhouettes standing strong in the distance.

With all our heart, our spirit, and Buff pride,

Thank you for leading the way.

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Just Another Case of the Monday’s

In the context of things, let’s pretend this blog came earlier, that Homecoming on the glorious campus of West Texas A and M University did not happen prior to this post. Let’s make believe we typed this up, hit “Publish”, and all went according to plan. Let’s play as if all went swimmingly.

Or we could just accept the fact we procrastinated. Then again, are we wrong for doing so? It was Home Coming for all intents and purposes. If any week demands procrastination then this is it. This week did demand our time, spirit, emotion and physical being to make it happen. Sleep remains a forgotten stranger, the world dark  at the open and close of our eyes. We feel vampiric, without the blood sucking and ghoulish nature, then again, dragging untied shoes down the halls of WT in search of machine-spouted snacks and drinks seems a little zombie-like. Add blood-shot, sleepless eyes, drool and  incomprehensible babble,  then rightfully ghoulish we are.

Either way, Home Coming…

Another week passed by our humble eyes, drifting under our nimble fingers as we try to figure out the ever-changing reference page or decide whether True fits the statement more so than False.

Turn our focus to the more exciting, fun festivities of the week such as Pancakes and Karaoke or The Pigskin Review. This is what Home Coming is about, truly. At least in the grand scheme.

However (and we may be bias – scratch that, we are) the more important issue is DJ of the Week. We are all for school spirit, kicking butt at the football game, and the crowning of the Home Coming King and Queen, yet at KWTS, our DJs are the focus.

Enter Madison Monday.madison final.png

She is one of those that rose through the ranks. Our Grad Assistant Dane Glenn may have flown out of left field, but Madison crashed the bullpen cart through the front gate.

She is not wild or reckless, or we might be lying; however, in terms of school and KWTS, she keeps her head in the clouds and her heart on the game.

Of course that’s after she changed her major from music to broadcasting and electronic media. And after she realized she “sucked at bowling” – yes, her words. She pulled a 7/10 and fell down our rabbit hole.

We first met Madison in the good ol’ days of Spring of 2016. DJ Monday on Wednesday brought you the best college indie rock in the Texas Panhandle. Now, she is one-third the collective cinema-reviewing mind that is The Movie Buffs, on-air every Monday from 5 – 7. We could dribble on about her accomplishments and accolades, but let’s cut the bull and tell you exactly why we chose Madison as our DJ of the week. Let us enlighten you as to why we love this cookie-cutter breaking disc jockey.

With her, honesty is key. It may be hard to swallow, but trust us, you’ll thank her later for the medication. We trust her opinion; for example, her thoughts and recommendations on the blogs prior.

Battling her in wit is like a 4 year-old competing against an Olympic ping-pong player.

Her sarcasm is dry, full and surprisingly refreshing.

Her attitude contains hints of Wednesday Addams (irony?). A little twisted with a cool head.

She is always on her game, rocking the airwaves and catching up on the latest movie blockbusters in order to review for her show. Preparedness seems to come easy to her . . . Or she wings it like the rest of us.

Currently, she participates in the National Broadcasting Society (NBS), the National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS) and KWTS, which is the radio station, not an acronym.

For the future, she plans to take the title of Marketing Director here at KWTS. Next, General Manager. Then, the world. But until then, she possibly wants a career behind a camera or as a music engineer. She’s not 100% certain what will happen (are any of us?).

Madison does want to travel the world and soak in cultures, especially the music. Her first foray will be Randy Ray’s study abroad class in England come Summer 2017. Next is a full semester in South Korea.

As for interests and the usual . . . We are not certain if she likes Pina Coladas or long walks in the rain, but she overly enjoys Sharky’s and plays mom to a fur baby. Also, she hates Biology. We don’t blame her.

madisonMadison is essential to KWTS in many ways. We need her insight, her input, and more importantly her unrelenting honesty. We need her plans for the station’s future. Her vision is advantageous and will only benefit our growth. And in turn, we offer her exclusive opportunities to accelerate her know-how and to build a gorgeous resume.

It’s a win-win.

We appreciate you, Madison, for giving us a case of the Monday’s.

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We’ll Leave the Light on for Ya

Time ticks away, nimble hands orbiting the face of the all-demanding clock. We rise and shine with the numbers, buzzers, whimsical tunes or the Stones’ Start Me Up snapping awake our minds and bodies to another day. These “awake” hours get longer as hours asleep shrink. Then days start to blur. Calendar pages can’t be pinned up fast enough.

This is how the semester is rolling. Fast, furious, and slipping. Seems like yesterday August led us into another fall. Now, October is hurtling midterms at us, Halloween scrambling upon its back.

Next week the cursed exams hit the students’ desks in KWTS Practicum. But all is not cram sessions and information memorization at The One, 91.1. We do have fun, but more on that later.

Our deejays and Special Shows have filled the airwaves with personality and diversity, a must in the world of radio, college radio and cellphones – where anyone and everyone could be a claim to fame in a matter of minutes. Here on campus, however, we celebrate those which stand out, those who excel at what they are supposed to do and that which they aren’t. Those who take on more they can chew but savor every bite.

Aaron Becker is that guy.aaron

He’s earning a reputation here at the station. First, as the Jazz Man. Yes, Jazz Man. Seems this cool cat loves the brass and seductive songs. Like a well-aged wine, this CD spinner pops the cork, pouring a silky smooth glass of tantalizing tunes.  A hint of Louis Armstrong dances across the ears. A recognized Sinatra rushes over the eardrums, accompanied by subtle notes of Goodman, Ellington and a bittersweet nibble from Gillespie. But wait . . . a new flavor tickles the pallet, something divinely unique yet somehow  hauntingly familiar . . . a Nicola Conte, dragging a ghostly modern finish into the processes of the brain.

The label reads Singing and Swinging, a KWTS exclusive, Fall of 2016. This astounding selection may only be savored on Fridays, from 9 am to 11 am. For aficionados of such genres, the reserve will prove more than exquisite. For reluctant first-timers, give the classy jazz a sip and relish. According the bottler, “there’s just something classy about people who have an ear for it, and I hope people that aren’t familiar with it might develop a liking towards that genre of music.”

This rare blesingin-and-swinginnd of jazz and blues is Aaron’s musical “lifelong love.”  Passion breeds purpose and this vintage carries that drive.

Second, Aaron Becker, like a ninja, is everywhere. Not only does he host his show, but he shows up at promotional events, community service happenings, and he finishes his production way ahead of schedule. He has a knack for introducing himself in every piece. We can’t help but think of the Motel 6 commercials, with Tom Bodett. Straight forward, simple and a bit monotone.

As a native of Perryton, he sought out WT after a stint at Frank Phillips College in Borger, TX. His growing passion for sports pulled him here, a place where his blossoming interest in media could be nurtured and harvested.

Aside from the show, Aaron has invested himself in the sports team, where he called his first game this semester. He is working his way up the ranksaaron-and-ryan, stamping his unique brand of awesomeness on all he touches.

One day this ladder of success will hopefully lead him to the NFL. His dream? A play-by-play announcer.

Until then, he makes it happen. We are proud this man joined our team. Without him, we’d be a tad misshapen…and dare we say less classy? His insight, admiration and love for jazz and sports will carry him far, no doubt.

But remember, no matter how far you go, Aaron, you always have a home at KWTS. Because here at The One, 91.1, we’ll leave the light on for ya.

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If You One-Na Be My Chili

Ground beef sizzles. Onions and tomatoes diced. Crock pots click to warm. And the midnight oil hisses on its last drops.

All in the name of chili.

For the 11th Annual COESS Chili Cook-Off on the campus of WTAMU, that was our Wednesday night.

The perfect chili takes about 6 to 8 hours to slow cook. Add a dash of caress, two bottles of Shiner Bock, New Mexican Hatch Green Chiles and a pinch of cinnamon. Yes, cinnamon. Well, at least one of ours included the elusive spice into the ingredient list. Ye14446382_1608709472756236_843694502_os we made two batches, both distinct and both fitting to the personality and tastes of the creator.

Hosts of the morning show, The Black Tie Affair, each made their specialty. The Great Dane made a bold, deep, little spicy smoke and sweet chili, complete with Texas native Shiner Bock and cinnamon. Reverend T went with a different approach. Broth-soaked potatoes popped over the palette followed by the salty robustness of simmered ground beef. Finally Mr. Green approaches, the Hatch Green Chiles bringing crisp flavor up front with slow heat in the back where it lingers on your tongue.


Sorry, I had to wipe drool from my keyboard.

Our entries were deadlocked to win. We set up our table that Thursday, ready to WOW! the masses.

About 15 teams, ranging from student organizations to faculty and staff to the University Police Department, lined up around the pedestrian mall. Ribbons and tablecloths popped in the wind. Signs and flags begged for consumers to EAT HERE! and, more importantly, VOTE FOR US! Fritos, shredded cheese, crackers and Indian Chapati bread accessorized the tables . . . and lunch. And the chili, oh the chili, wafting along, steamy tendrils dragging eaters to the best chili around.

14438788_1608709716089545_650095221_oI guess our tendrils were broken.

We had the boombox out, rocking the station for your generation, 91.1 FM. We had special show posters promoting the diverse music we offer. We had food. Free, mind you. And more importantly, we had free food.

But need not fear. Classes let out. College students learned of free chili, a change from their coffee and Ramen diet. Faculty and staff migrated to the festivities. No doubt others from Canyon joined in on the grazing. Swarms of taste-testers, lip-lickers, and seconds-wanters circled the concrete, stacking up at one table then shuffling to the next; a slow-moving whirlpool of head nods and “mmmms”. For an hour, a live band rocked the stage.  Eager fingers grasped little tiny cups and little tiny spoons and scooped hearty sample-sized servings of ground beef and assorted secret ingredients into drooling mouths.

The crowd thickened. The chili thinned.

We ran out. Then another group. And another. Then we were all done, with the masses demanding more. But us cooks wanted something different. Trophies.

Out of all the categories – People’s Choice, President’s Choice, Best Table (Buffalo Spirit), Best Chili Accompaniment, 3rd place, 2nd place and Grand Champion – we won a whopping….. none of them.14453942_1608709709422879_49506812_o

Oh well, next year.

Honestly, the loss upset us but we weren’t out there solely for prizes and bragging rights. Okay, maybe some of us. Yet, for the majority, we wanted camaraderie, togetherness and belonging. We want our name out there. We want 91.1 FM a preset on everyone’s care radio. We want the KWTS Live Stream App a staple on all cell phones.

Dream big. Start small. Cook chili.


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DJ of the Week – Jared Cantu

Once again summer has disappeared, leftover heat hovering in the atmosphere like the irritating mosquitoes that just won’t die. Vacation memories now snuggle up to selfies and screen shots, piled deep on Face Book and pushing the storage in your phone to maximum.

Books, fresh pens and white paper fill back packs. School bells haunt the hallways. The AM never came so early. And the countdown until holiday breaks has already begun.

But here on the campus of WT, more specifically here in the Schaeffer Studio, KWTS Practicum is in full swing. Special shows diversify the airwaves with country, jazz, movie talk and metal. And all the first semester students cracked the mic for the first time.

Their second week has passed for most, voices compacted into digital format. Through those files, we selected our first Fall 2016 DJ of the Week – Jared Cantu.

You can call him JD. We do. He’s been on his A Game since day one. Granted, most hiccup the first run through or two. It happens. The whole idea, especially at first glance and trial, is nerve racking. So we gave him a break, although we feel like we really didn’t need to.

He shows up to all our extracurricular events. He does his homework. Even before he was a Buff, he stopped by, extremely interested in our program. He even rolled up his sleeves with us in building the severely humble KWTS abode for Shack-a-thon. To be honest, why wouldn’t we pick him.

Despite all our rambling type, only the man of the hour can describe jdhimself:

“My name is J.D. or the Hispanic@thedisco and I’m currently a freshman here at WTAMU,  all you really have to know about me is that I’m pretty laid back, I like meeting new people and helping out when I can. I hope to one day be able to have my own radio show, or to become a actor. Be sure to tune in every Wednesday from 3-5 on 91.1 “The One” the station for your generation!”

He even signs off in text, how awesome is that. This rookie will become a seasoned veteran here at the station.


Whatever you need, J.D., we got your back. Just ask.

Sincerely yours,

The One, 91.1





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KWTS Coasting in LA

NBS Nationals 2016.JPG

Welcome back to school or work everybody!!!! We hope you had a great Spring Break. To catch you up on what happened during the break, members of the KWTS staff traveled to Los Angeles, California to take part in the National Broadcasting Society’s National Convention in Burbank as most members of KWTS are also members of NBS. Our students had a chance to visit all parts of Los Angeles as some students went to the taping of “2 Broke Girls”, visited Disneyland, and watch the NBA team Los Angeles Lakers play the Sacramento Kings.

At the convention, the group had a chance to meet other NBS members from around the United States to network with them and to network with professionals in the broadcasting industry. There were several panels there that included people involved in freelance work, television, film, music, news, and sports. This was a chance for students to pick their brains on the best approach to the future when they graduate college and move on to the real world.

The convention also consisted in an award ceremony where West Texas A&M University’s chapter walked away with 12 student awards and one professional award. Here is the list of awards our NBS chapter and members of our station won there:

Professional Category: Audio Recording – Randy Ray – “Buckets of Rain”

Student Categories: Chapter of the Year

Model Chapter of the Year

Community Service – Honorable Mention

Student of the Year – Anthony Miller

Rookie of the Year – Tran Nguyen

Studio Live Performance – Cody Wesley, Tim Rivera – “WT Jazz Combo 1 Live Recording: Tall and Lanky”

Studio Live Performance – Malcolm Montgomery, David Dueñes – “One Sessions with Tennessee Tuckness”

Video Commercial – Hope Stokes “Around Amarillo in 30 Seconds”

Audio News Package – Allison Myers “WTAMU Athletic Training”

Play-by-Play Audio – Anthony Miller, Malcolm Montgomery, Payton Northrup – “WT Lady Buffs Basketball Game 2015”

Station Promo – Avery Taylor – “Top 21 Promo”

Audio Sports Package – Anthony Miller – “WT Softball”

We were honored by NBS rewarding us with so many awards, but it’s also a reflection of how hard students in our department work to achieve what we have worked at for a year. We have the hardest working students in the country and we proved it at the convention. This was a very successful Spring Break for us and we are looking forward to more success for our station and department.

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Staying Busy Before Spring Break

Highway Cleanup 1

The past few weeks have been busy for the radio station as we have served our community by cleaning up the Happy highway near Canyon High School back a few weeks ago. Some of the directors and DJs on the station took time out of their Saturday to clean up the highway to support the idea of keeping Texas clean. It has been a project that we have been apart of for a long time and it’s a great way to give back to the community by keeping it clean.

In the past few weeks, we have also done a special live broadcast from the Career Expo on February 24th with PM in the AM being the hosts of the hour long event. Payton and Malcolm had a chance to talk to employers and WT students looking for jobs to get their perspective on the event. Many students came out to try to find a job of their dreams now or in the near future.

We also had the great pleasure of giving a tour of our facilities to Westover Park Junior High students. They got the chance to see the behind the scenes look of the station and saw our very own Music Director Tim Rivera perform a jockbreak in front of them to show an example of what we do here. We love showcasing our facilities to the younger generation as we feel it’s a great way of getting them excited about college and enjoy the education process of college. These students are the future and we want to be able to motivate them to come to college so they can get the same joy that all WT students get from attending here. If you want a chance to tour our facilities, contact our General Manager Anthony Miller at kwtsgm@gmail.com.

Last week, KWTS members collaborated with the National Broadcasting Society in their project called the Global News Relay. It’s an event where 13 universities from around the world do a 15-20 minute newscast on television. The topic of this year’s relay was sports in the community. The project was completed last week with the broadcast being shown on March 18th on YouTube. Check out the newscast to see what has been happening in our community involving sports’s impact on the Canyon/Amarillo area.

Randy Champion

One of the heads of our broadcasting department, Randy Ray, traveled to New York this week to represent KWTS at the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System convention where KWTS was nominated for several awards. KWTS came out winners in the Best Play-By-Play (other) category with the commentary team of Anthony Miller and Payton Northrup with Malcolm Montgomery producing the game. Here is the list of other finalists from KWTS that walked away with trophies:

Best Campus News – Kase Wilbanks “Enrollment”

Best Sports Update – Kase Wilbanks “Rec Sports”

Best Promo Series – Bri Leeper

Best Talk Radio Show – David and Robert Duenes “Handsome Man Morning Show”

Best Station Blogs – KWTS

We are extremely proud of the hard work the students at KWTS have done in the past year to make our station the best in the country. We look forward to more great things happening for us as members of our station head to Los Angeles for the National Broadcasting Society to learn at the convention and enjoy the sights and sounds of the city. And as always, make sure to keep it locked to the station for your generation, The One 91.1 FM!!!

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