Words by Jesse Mathison
Photography by Jen Silver
Nashville is a city with an incredibly rich and diverse musical history and a historically strong sense of community. It seems to be one of the more inviting aspects of our city, this sense of community, but in the wake of so much growth and development, it also seems to be greatly fractured. Change is natural, of course, especially following such an economic upheaval as this city has experienced, but the manner in which our city is changing, and the lack of new, community-focused outlets, is a concern.
Only five years have passed since WRVU signed off the air, and there has been a noticeable absence of community-oriented radio, or even of a cohesive communal voice, in the intervening years. WXNA seems poised to fill this gap, especially considering that all seven board members were once community deejays at WRVU. There will of course be many differences between the two stations: WXNA will carry no syndicated programming and will offer up 87 new shows, programmed and created here in Nashville, focusing on different aspects of our local culture. Musically speaking, genres will include rock, soul, country, funk, jazz, blues, electronica, and many more. The lineup will also feature a range of talk shows focused on community issues, culture, food, health, and comedy, among numerous other topics. These shows will be led by passionate individuals who want to connect and share with others and foster more dialogue, as well as a greater sense of connectivity. Speaking on the subject, Heather Lose, president of WXNA, urged for community involvement: “We are here to serve our community, and we want people to get in touch and to participate as much as possible. Let us know what you want to hear; let us know what you like. There are so many ways to get involved.”Radio is of course an artistic medium in its own right and provides something inherently unique. This fact isn’t lost on Randy Fox, Program Director for WXNA: “We want to bring back the art of radio, which has, to a large degree, died out. A great radio DJ is one part sound-collage artist and one part carnival barker. You’re not just picking songs at random; you’re picking songs that flow into each other, and they tell a story or express an emotion, but you also have to have that gift of gab to connect it. There are some other independent voices in town, but they kind of have a different agenda. One of the points we talked about is that we have all these musicians who are based here in Nashville, and they tour all over the world, and yet you can’t hear any of their records on any local station, and we wanted to provide that service to the Nashville music community. You shouldn’t have to go to Denver to hear Todd Snyder on the radio.”
The staff of WXNA (101.5 FM) is working hard to provide a voice for local musicians and music lovers alike. Now it rests on the community to respond.
For more information on WXNA, visit www.wxnafm.org.