North Texas Daily

Media arts student turns the dial to his own radio station

Media arts student turns the dial to his own radio station

Media arts student turns the dial to his own radio station
March 29
11:00 2019

With countless music options, listeners can pop a vinyl record onto a turntable, listen to an album on YouTube or use a streaming service like Apple Music, Spotify or Beyoncé-endorsed Tidal.

Stationhead, an app founded by singer-songwriter Ryan Star, melds the legacy medium of radio and the millennial-preferred method of music streaming together, allowing users to create their own radio stations and “spin” music from their Apple Music or Spotify libraries. Three weeks ago, media arts junior Frankie Cavazos started the North Texas Music station on Stationhead to give UNT students and North Texas locals a place to share music with little restrictions, whether it is an oldie from the ’50s or the newest release from a local indie band.

Cavazos worked at the on-campus radio station KNTU for two years. He said the broadcast experience he gained at the station helped him start North Texas Music.  

“While I was [working at KNTU], I was also building up a personal following of the people who would tune in to ‘North Texas Jukebox,’ which is on KNTU every Sunday,” Cavazos said. “I would take requests throughout the week and try to promote it. I really enjoyed it, but it also felt kind of limited due to certain regulations with the FCC. If somebody wanted to play a rap song that had bad words in it, I would not be able to use it.” 

Cavazos turned to Instagram, where he live-streamed to try to connect with his listeners, something he found difficult to do over the radio.

“I was doing Instagram Live DJ sets, but of course, [Instagram] doesn’t allow that just due to copywriting and stuff,” Cavazos said. “I stopped doing that after maybe two sets, but there were a lot of people who joined in.”

With his live streams struck by copyright laws, Cavazos said he wanted to find a platform that combines the aspects of music streaming and social networks. Last year, the platform found him when representatives from Stationhead contacted him through Instagram.

Frankie Cavazos’ radio station NorthTexasMusic plays on Stationhead, a radio streaming app. Image by: Will Baldwin.

“[The representatives] were like, ‘Hey, we want to incentivize people to start a radio station on our platform and provide content and music and unique ideas,’” Cavazos said. “Anything can happen on this platform. You can go from a girl doing a show about yoga in the morning [to DJing] songs, so all these ideas are popping in my head about different shows and stuff I could do.”

Cavazos said there is a disagreement in the music industry about whether streaming is good for music or not, but he sees the expansion of digital music as positive for both artists and listeners.

“People are going to illegally stream [music] if they don’t have access to it,” Cavazos said. “[With Stationhead,] I think more money is going to go back to the artist because indie artists can be really big on this platform. Just last week, we had two artists actually drop tracks during our set. They are getting the revenue and they can have all their analytics.”

Formatted like a social media platform, Cavazos said the community of users is a big part of the Stationhead app.

“Nobody wants to listen to a national radio station on Stationhead,” Cavazos said. “No one is just going to go on there because it is not going to be relevant to them. You really need to build the community [and] what better way to build the community than within your city or even regionally in the North Texas area?”

Cavazos said he has met users who also host their own shows, including Mac Mycroft, who goes by Bombs In Context, and Don Thomas, who goes by Phantom Dog.

“I think I just happened to be on a show one night and it just snowballed from getting on and goofing around to an actual show,” Mycroft said.

Stationhead allowed them to find a community through music, combining live interaction with broadcast radio.

“You could sit there and watch TV or throw on some Netflix, but I think all of us would agree that has taken a backseat,” Thomas said. “Now we’re just getting on, having a good time and playing some good music. Music that I personally wouldn’t even have spun or listen to. Everybody kind of respects everybody else’s tastes and opinions on music.”

Thomas hosts a show at 4:20 p.m. every day where he keeps listeners on their toes with quirky music choices, including a song by The Osmonds on a playlist.

“I have been DJing since I was about 14 [or] 15,” Thomas said. “I’ve got this radio broadcast mindset where it’s music and [you] talk during the breaks, so this is a totally different approach to radio for me with the chatroom and being able to call people up and bringing people up. This is groundbreaking.”

Featured Image: Frankie Cavazos sits at his in-home studio where he broadcasts his voice to listeners of his radio station, NorthTexasMusic. Image by: Will Baldwin.

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Nikki Johnson-Bolden

Nikki Johnson-Bolden

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2 Comments

  1. Northtexasmusic
    Northtexasmusic April 01, 13:14

    Follow our 1000 strong Instagram family @northtexasmusic

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  2. Dodie
    Dodie April 01, 17:14

    Awesome

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