By Diego B Gonzales
Blog Content Contributor
Jared Dudley, the former music director for KTSW, graduated in the 2023 spring semester at Texas State University and still carries with him countless skills and memories he picked up during his time at the station. In an interview with Dudley, we talk about the skills he picked up, what being a music director is like, and surreal guardian-angel encounters.
Gonzales: How long were you working with KTSW before graduating in spring 2023?
Dudley: I started doing KTSW my junior year just as a music journalist, and that was really fun, and I really quickly fell in love with that. Then, I got into going on the air during that first semester I was at KTSW and became music director my senior year. My last two years of college were really focused on KTSW. I guess I joined in late compared to many other people, but yeah.
Gonzales: As music director, what were some of the challenges and responsibilities of that role?
Dudley: It’s pretty much a radio station management job. You’d get like 100 emails a day, and you’d walk into the office early in the morning, and there would already be 30 emails from promoters and independent musicians sending their music to KTSW literally from all over the world. So, first and foremost, it’s really just going through a lot of music and finding something that you think would appeal to a broader audience and fit the tone of a college radio station. You also get calls from promoters from around the country, and they’re different organizations and groups that are looking to get their artist’s music on the air.
I think the biggest challenge that I had to acclimate to was being in a managerial position and being responsible for a big group of students. Being like, ‘Okay, everyone in the music department needs to be doing work, and if my boss Dan [Schumacher] looks on the blog and sees articles have like 150 words and spelling issues or if they’re off-topic and don’t really make sense, then it’s on me to fix that. The music director was the first position that I was in where I had to keep tabs on my department for the first time, so that was a big struggle for a second, but I got there. It took a second to get used to doing that, but it was very rewarding.
Gonzales: Since graduating, are there any particular skills that you’ve picked up from KTSW that help you in your post-college life?
Dudley: Yeah, definitely. Any management experience on the resume or on a portfolio goes very far when people are looking at job applications, so just having that can be very beneficial, but beyond that, I got better at talking to people through doing interviews stuff. Working at KTSW as a music director forces you to put yourself out there in a lot of ways that are necessary for anything you want in the future.
Gonzales: Did you ever have any awkward experiences with your early interviews as a music journalist at KTSW?
Dudley: I was interviewing a band called Sweeping Promises, and they were playing at a bar in Austin. I had it all planned out and ready to go; I was in contact with the band’s manager, who was emailing me all the details, gave me a pass, and told me I could bring my camera. I was like, ‘alright, I’m super prepared, I have my questions ready, I won’t be weird, it’s going to be great,’ and I go to the bar with my camera, and I’m like, ‘my name is Jared Dudley I’m here with KTSW, here’s this email, am I on a list? I have like a ticket here.’ He’s like, ‘OK, you got the ticket, but you can’t bring in your camera,’ and I was like, ‘Oh, I was told I could. Are you sure?’ and he’s like, ‘Yeah, you’re not on any list.’ So I’m just like, ‘Oh my god, I’m gonna mess up my first interview,’ but then a random guy came up to me and was like, ‘hey, are you trying to get in?’ and I said yes. Then he said ‘don’t worry just get behind me,’ and I was like ‘okay,’ and then he passes the door guy, flashes his wristband, and he’s allowed in and I’m just there following behind him. He turned around to me, and he said, ‘don’t worry about it,’ and then leaves, and I was in, and I was like *exaggerated gasp*. I never saw him again.
Gonzales: That must have been so surreal; it’s almost like a guardian-angel-type moment.
Dudley: (laughing) Yeah, so that was almost bad. It was very awkward for me for like a couple of minutes there, but then I got to the band, and I told them about that experience, and they were like, ‘Oh, don’t worry about it’. They’re wonderful, they were so great.
Gonzales: Wrapping up, what’s one of the biggest things you miss about being a part of the KTSW team?
Dudley: The community that sprung up amongst the executive staff and some of our assistants. A close group seemed to form by the end of the spring semester. There were really great people, and we were able to do Third Thursday, so we had a chance to meet up every month and just have a chill environment and hang out while we all enjoyed each other’s company. It wasn’t ever a chore to come into the office because everyone was there, and they were super chill. We were all excited about music and excited to work. A lot of people moved back home, or they’re working various other jobs, and our schedules are kind of a mess when we try to get together. It’s just seeing the KTSW people on a regular basis, and the sense of community is what I miss the most.
Written by: Cayla Soriano