Growing up in Baltimore, Maryland with a sports loving family, Ashley Venable was destined to be into sports at a young age. No one expected to see her grow up knowing she was going into the sports broadcasting industry by the age of 9. Her path led her to apply for a middle school (6th, 7th, and 8th grade) that had a specialized class for Mass Communication. She later completed high school in only 3 years to fast track to West Texas A&M University a year early. In the fall of 2016, Ashley entered WTAMU as a Mass Communication major with an emphasis in Broadcast Electronic Media and quickly took the department by storm. Now renamed, she is still a Media Communication major with an emphasis in Digital Communication.
Eager to start pursuing her interests, she quickly joined the Sports Broadcasting Practicum that led her to WTTV Live Crew. Now in her junior year, this will be Ashley’s second season as the Kimbrough Memorial Stadium’s football high 50-yard line cameraman and her first season also serving as Crew Chief. This class is where she pin-pointed her career goal; a professional cameraman in the NFL. When signing up for her second semester classes, and football no longer allowing a sports broadcasting practicum, Professor Randy Ray suggested she joined the KWTS practicum which she has since stayed in for 4 consecutive semesters in a multitude of positions. Starting her second semester in Fall 2017, she started co-hosting her special show Memory Lane Monday instead of doing a single person shift. With approaching everything she does with extreme dedication and charisma, it is no surprise that after just 2 semesters with the radio, she was been named the upcoming semester’s Sports Director for KWTS. She has been awarded as Rookie DJ of the Year 2016-2017 and Special Show of the Year 2017-2018. She currently still serves as Sports Director for us and Crew Chief plus High 50 cam for WTTV Live Crew while also being involved with on-campus organizations. After a year as an active National Broadcasting Society member, she is now taking on a leadership role as the Convention Coordinator. Already such an active member of the department and in many leadership spots, she is in her first semester of junior year and is not set to graduate until May of 2020.
As for outside of school, Ashley has always been passionate for playing sports. This past summer marked her final season of travel softball with her childhood team of 15 years. Her DJ name “Ash the Flash” was affectionately given to her by her childhood coach at just 4 years old. She played club soccer as well growing up and was Varsity for both soccer and softball in high school. She still tries to play intramural sports when she can. Another free time activity for Ashley is listening to good music and she is consistently on the hunt for new songs/artists/genres to jam to. Anything football, baseball, softball, pop-punk, emo, or indie will sparks Ashley’s interests and lead to her talking about it forever. Still considering herself shy and reclusive, Ashley has certainly come out of that shell and is now and forever a part of the Media Comm family.
Two score and some years ago, beamed straight from heaven to Oklahoma City, KWTS Program Director Stevana Simmons made her debut.
Often referred to as just “Stevie”, Stevana spent the greater portion of her life living in various parts of the American Southwest as a full-time military kid and part-time hell-raiser. Now reformed, Stevana spends most of her time in the Fine Arts Complex at West Texas A&M University skipping class to work in the station.
A sneaker enthusiast, prospective content creator, snack connoisseur and devotee of all things Rhythm & Blues, Stevana hopes to one day lay claim to a career within the large scope that is the communications field. Not particular in practice but driven in fervor. Being afforded the many opportunities at WT and the amazing people she gets to work with, along with the friendly faces she sees in passing, Stevana aims to one day do for KWTS the One 91.1 and the WT Media Communications Department as much as they have done for her. BO GUFFS!
For over 25 years, KWTS The One 91.1 has done something that seems odd for a radio station to do. Twice a semester, us DJs and directors don orange vests and carry trash bags up and down a strip of road. Just down for Hil’s Burgers, south of Canyon High School, and a little ways past Norman Bates’ place lays a rest area followed by a mile of highway KWTS adopted quite some time ago.
Beer cans, take out containers, random pieces of plastic and other junk is bagged and tagged by us. We do our best to pick up the Home and make Mother Nature again. Typically, we make a contest out of who can find the most interesting piece of trash – urinal cakes, animal bones, part of a Port-o-Potty, and a half-submerged-in-mud bicycle are just a few of the gross goodies that await us.
We do this for several reasons. To be honest, it’s part of being in the KWTS Practicum class. But we make it known to new students why we go out there and pick up
garbage. The community supports us, listens to us, donates to our cause whether it is scholarships, underwriting, food or drinks for meetings, or anything else. And this isn’t just for KWTS, the community give to the entire school. Canyon has been the home of WT for over a century. The town has given us a warm, nurturing environment to grow in. We appreciate the generosity. The least we could do is pick up our room.
One of our own, the talented Chase Brady, made this video of highway cleanup:
Today we look at another veteran of the KWTS program. Her favorite Beatle is George Harrison and her favorite color is green. You might know her as Anna, Parsons, Katscratch, or daughter of a guy that used to be in a band and painted a guitar for David Gilmour. Today she’s known as the General Manager of KWTS The One 91.1. To understand the enigma that is Anna Parsons, we need to go to where it all began.
Born in Hereford, TX, Anna was raised in an art and musically inclined home. It doesn’t stop there; she also comes from a very culturally rich background. A grandfather from Arkansas introduced music from Johnny Cash, The Carter Family, Hank Williams and Johnny Horton. Grandmother and Grandparents from Mexico helped carve hispanic heritage into her life. She also grew up with a family of only brothers to top it all off. As a first generation student, she didn’t know what to expect when it came to college.
WT was somewhere close to home. She was declared an undecided major for a short time being that she jumped into college quickly. Soon she followed her love for the arts and became a Graphic Design major. This was and still is a topic she loves and a straight arrow towards creativity, but there was something missing. Her best friend, Alyssa, was a Mass Comm major and that’s how she ended up spending most of her time in the Fine Arts Complex. Everyone knew each other and it was such a welcoming environment.
Slowly she become involved in KWTS. It started with volunteering on the KWTS music team, then starting a special show, and finally changing her major to Digital Media and Communications. The Super Nintenduo was the brainchild of Wolfbite, and Anna took a seat as the co-host known as Katscratch. This video game show was broadcast on-air, then moved to podcast, and finally has moved to the stages of a YouTube channel. Along with the Super Nintenduo, Anna became Music Director of KWTS and managed Top 21/Behind the Mic. She moved up to become the Program Director of the station. Finally, she now sits as the General Manager of the One 91.1.
It doesn’t stop there, she’s also involved in the National Broadcasting Society and Maroon Productions. There are so many things provided at WT and the station that continue to prepare Anna for her future career. Graduation is just around the corner for Anna. She’d love nothing more than to travel everywhere and work with video, live concerts, or just recording stories of everyone she meets. Whenever she’s home, she loves to spend time with her family and four dogs. A growing vinyl collection lives in her room, as well as an assortment of knick-knacks. There’s also the chance she’ll come back for her medical degree, but we’ll leave that up to fate.
Here on KWTS we pride ourselves with a lot, one of those things being diverse in our music. Granted, we have our standard, college rock format. But, we also allow students to manage their own special shows,pick their music, be extremely creative with production, and just have some fun.
A new show to the line up, The Malt Shop, is a breath of vintage air to our music library. Dakota Kessler, or DJ D-K Rock, is the host of this show. He picked the genre of the 40s, 50s, and 60s, because he grew up listening to those decades. Thanks to his dad and grandfather, Dakota was influenced by the sounds of Elvis, The Crests, The Chordettes, and Ray Charles (just to name a few). On his show, he highlights an artist every week. He also holds a trivia contest with prizes pertaining to the music and artists.
Dakota finds the music extremely enjoyable – it puts him in a feel good mood even if things throughout his day hit the fan. Just load in some golden oldies, and he is definitely happier.
Aside from The Malt Shop, Dakota is working on his bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism. He also loves to collect records (1st pressings (preferably) and read comic books.
Tune in to KWTS 91.1 FM every Wednesday night 10 to midnight to hear DJ D-K Rock play the best from the 40s, 50s, and 60s. You can also live stream using the WT Mobile App (Open, swipe left, and click ‘The One’ icon) or head to http://www.wtamu.edu/kwts. DJ D-K Rock
KWTS: broadcasting to 9 counties, 24/7, 365 days, and always bringing in a new round of on-air DJ’s and many special shows. We never shy away from showing the ropes to the new generation of our station. There’s heart, personality, diversity, and a bundle of nerves awaiting each student as they crack the mic. Each semester we welcome our new radio personnel as they don over-the-ear headphones and create a catchy DJ name.
For those who are too shy for camera, radio is the way to go. Starting September 10, our new round of DJ’s prepared for their shift and first time broadcasting live to our loyal listeners. It’s always nerve-racking experience. Because what do you expect from 6,000 watts of power? Returning students lead the way and showed them the do’s, don’ts, and the discovery of sharing the experience that is The One 91.1.
We all recall the many stories of our very own meeting their best friends, future partner, or appreciation of radio through KWTS. That’s just it though, everyone walks through this journey learning something different. Whether it’s a preference for video, learning what your voice actually sounds like, or the motivation to learn more about the day-to-day life of a radio station, The One never strays away from the creative or those who want to dig in.
Girls’ Night In and The Malt Shop are a couple of new special shows joining us this semester. Pop Punk Past Time, The Power Block, Unsportsmanlike Conduct, and Psychotic Reaction continue on through last year. These special show DJ’s started off as rookies learning the faders and assignments like everyone else. They are the leaders and mentors for the a small college radio generation. About 1% of all people get this amazing opportunity to broadcast live. KWTS is more than thankful to contribute that small number.
It’s a once in a lifetime chance, growing experience, and great creative outlet. KWTS provides students with a crash course and hands on experience of FM radio. From creating production, reviewing music, calling live games, or generating social media content, the options are endless and unlimited. Everyone is set up to succeed. We might be located in little ol’ Canyon, TX, but there’s pure heart and dedication surrounding our station. So, to those new DJ’s fumbling their way through each jock break we encourage you not to be afraid of failing. Turn up that mic, lower that music bed, and try, try, try again.