By Arlett Ramirez
Assistant Web Content Manager
College Radio Day is when college radio stations’ get the opportunity to make their voices heard and the spotlight shines on some whose contributions make an impact on-air and off-air. Last week, I had the opportunity to sit down with the KTSW Program Director April Gutierrez who has been at KTSW for six semesters with the program department and recently became director this past summer. I sat down with her at the KTSW office where we talked about her time at KTSW and her experiences.
When Gutierrez first joined KTSW in the spring of 2017, she was a DJ for two semesters before becoming an Other Side Drive (OSD) host for three semesters. She eventually became an assistant where she learned how to manage groups and made sure that her staff had a clear grasp on her expectations and their duties.
Her multiple positions through the program department have taught her valuable things like group and time management, media experience, and tech knowledge. Not only has she learned things through her own department but other departments like social media, multimedia and music have taught her how to work with others.
When asked about why she joined KTSW, Gutierrez credits her father, “I wanted to try out radio because my dad actually has DJ background. I feel like him and I are very similar.” Gutierrez said.
She tells me how her father became a DJ. When he was younger, he reached out to one of the local Tejano radio stations in San Antonio (their hometown) wanting to DJ but there were no positions open. However, someone referred him to an open DJ position in Corpus Christi – a two-hour drive from San Antonio. Her father ended up accepting the position and would drive every Friday down to Corpus Christi to go on-air. Gutierrez has obviously inherited her father’s love for radio.
Gutierrez became program director this past summer and worked through the summer which prepared her for the fall semester. “Summer has a smaller staff and it was a good way for me to ease into the position of director. It’s everything that fall is but dialed down. The staff is smaller. Not as many DJs going on-air and there’s not as many events going on in the summer. It’s a little more intense now, but it’s fun!” Gutierrez said.
Being the program director, she no longer DJs but makes sure that everything from the back end operates smoothly. With her years of experience, she helps her staff and other departments whenever they need assistance.
I also got the chance to chat with one of the OSD hosts who are responsible for daily shows Monday through Friday from 4 to 6 p.m. Mercedes Atkinson is a senior who has been with the program department since January 2019. She was a DJ her first semester with KTSW and became an Other Side Drive host over the summer.
Atkinson joined KTSW to become more involved on campus and get real-life experience and working at a radio station fit that. She joined as a DJ at first to learn the basics before moving up in positions.
Her time at KTSW has taught her how to become a better DJ and interviewer. “Before becoming an OSD host, my interview skills were not it and now that I’ve been an OSD host for a few months and conducted interviews with bands, groups and organizations – I can say that I have improved 100%.”
I decided to ask her some rapid fire questions. Here were her answers!
Current favorite song: “Nina” by Crumb
Favorite album: Is This It by The Strokes
Last concert attended: Crumb at Barracuda
Best movie soundtrack: Phantom Thread
Favorite band: The Strokes
Featured image by Arlett Ramirez.