Chris and Dave of WEXT
Chris and Dave of WEXT are the reason we write and play music. After seeing us perform way back in middle school, Dave told us that if we ever wrote original music, he’d play it on the radio. Turns out, that was all we needed to hear. We wrote our first song the next week and immediately caught the bug. WEXT was the first radio station to play our music and has been with us ever since!
We’ve talked about our history with you both in all kinds of interviews, but I’m not sure anyone has ever heard things from your side. With that in mind, could you share the story of how we met and got our first-ever radio spins?
Chris: I remember Dave inviting these teenagers into the studio. He had met them out at an event. He was pretty excited. After the studio appearance, I remember his raving. I think the resulting songs are still in our system. I’m spacing on the song. It might have been “Dry Cereal.” That was a fun and exciting moment to be interacting with the band as we first started playing the song.
Dave: This takes me back to one night in Canajoharie. I saw Jocelyn & Chris perform at Music on Main Street in Canajoharie. Jocelyn was in 9th grade, and Chris in 8th, if memory serves me right. Chris played a red and white electric guitar and Jocelyn played seated at a keyboard, belting out one song after another. They had so much talent and passion from an early age. I said to them after the show, “write me an original song and I’ll play it on EXT.” They did and sent it to me. WEXT played it in regular rotation, between, like, John Hiatt and The Lumineers, or Brandi Carlile and Led Zeppelin!
There aren’t many radio formats that allow programmers as much creative vision for the station as AAA. Tell us a bit about your approach to programming. What makes a song ‘AAA’ to you? What makes a song a fit for WEXT?
Chris: Yea. AAA is different for each station. Some play more pop music type of songs. Some lean more toward alternative. And some, like WEXT, lean towards blues and rock. So, for WEXT, songs that tend to have a roots, blues or rock sound tend to feel more right.
In a world inundated with digital platforms, why is radio still important?
Chris: I feel there’s still a place for human interaction. The fact that the DJs and listeners connect with each other is still something. It seems that many folks don’t want to purchase and own physical media, even downloaded files seem less valuable to many. It seems that folks’ record collections have moved online. And while those services have ways to discover new music, it seems the human curation still builds a stronger bond. I don’t hear from people who’ve discovered new music through streaming having reactions the same way I do when they’ve discovered it through a friend, or radio DJ. Those discoveries seem to stick better. I don’t have research to prove that.
Dave: Radio is old faithful. It’s ease of use and portability. It’s living, breathing, and local. Radio is a companion connecting audiences with community, music, and art. It’s more than algorithms.
What is your favorite thing
about AAA radio?
Chris: Listeners. I love how actively involved in the music the listeners are.
Dave: I love how AAA stations are so willing to take chances on a wide variety of sounds and styles and dig a bit deeper into albums and artists. AAA radio also has the ability to super-serve the community by spotlighting events, and spaces and playing local music.