There were many disparaging comments about the sort of programming KTRU presented, dismissive fare of the "it's like putting a turntable needle on a birthday cake" sort. I'd argue that experimental music deserves love too, so starting today, we'll profile KTRU's DJs to give non-listeners a brief summation of what they'll be missing, from archival Gulf Coast R&B to avant garde turntablist cake music.
First up . . .
Show: Blues in Hi-Fi
Fare: Old-time R&B largely spanning from this region to New Orleans.
DJ: Clint Broussard
29-95: So how long have you been doing the show?
Broussard: I took over the blues show about 12 years ago. There was a blues show before me, but that's when we titled it Blues in Hi-Fi and gave it the current format.
29-95: Was that the sort of music you listened to as a kid?
Broussard: Yeah, growing up in Beaumont/Port Arthur area, and being Cajun. My parents cared more about black music and dancing instead of the psychedelic music of the day. So I grew up hearing all that. My Dad had a pretty rocking record collection, a lot of local music from the Gulf Coast area that I feature on my show, swamp pop, soul, R&B and blues.
29-95: So many performers don't have a presence in the digital realm. Obviously Otis Redding is preserved and lesser-known guys like James Carr are still preserved. But there were great regional performers whose stuff is virtually gone.
Broussard: And those guys used to get played on the radio. That's what I've tried to do with the show is have it represent what radio used to sound like around here. I'm fortunate to have a lot of these old records. That's one of the things that hit me first with the station being sold: Typically I buy records for myself but also for the pleasure of playing and sharing them. When I make a discovery I get to share it with people. One of the bummers is that outlet won't be around anymore. It's just me, an audience of one.
29-95: Will you go the net radio route?
Broussard: I don't really know. I'm not against trying to continue on and do something. But I don't know how long momentum for something like that can stay. I hope it works and KTRU thrives through it. In some ways you have the capability for broader reach through the net. But people go to the radio for one reason. People are on the N=net for millions of reasons and radio is a small one.
29-95: So in a nutshell, why do you think it's important for this music to be on the radio?
Broussard: I was talking to my brother about this last night, telling him how upset I am about all this. Aside from me personally being involved and hosting a show, I'm upset that all the different music KTRU exposes to people will be gone. As a 20 year-old not only was I exposed to a lot of music I didn’t know about, but I was also involved with a station that opened its arms and had me there. Now there won't be that same possibility for kids that age to get involved in radio.
As far as music I play, well, I feel it doesn’t get played in this area. I'm fortunate to have a background in the rich history of this stuff and I've been fortunate to share it around here. I do a swamp pop show before Thanksgiving every year and I'll hear from some of these guys who made some amazing music but never went on to national acclaim. They were regional artists with regional hits, but these hits are a part of our culture and history. I don't want to see that go away. I think Louisiana embraces that culture more than we seem to here.
29-95: Is there a favorite song you've played in the 12 years?
Broussard: You know, I did a Top Five favorite blues records for Mike Smith. My favorite on there is probably my favorite 45 among thousands: The Rains Came by Big Sambo and the Housewreckers. That's a Huey Meaux production. His real name was James Young and he introduced Barbara Lynn to Huey. He had that one song, but it wasn't quite a national hit. With that name in that era, nobody wanted to touch it. As you know, Huey ended up recording that song with everyone. I think James Young ended up a janitor at Bishop Byrne High School in Port Arthur. But I love everything about that song. It sounds like this area. The guitar tone, the whispery vocals. it's everything I love about music.
Cactus Music will host a Celebration of KTRU this weekend
When: 2-5 p.m. Sunday
Where: Cactus Music, 2110 Portsmouth
Featuring: DJ Session with Clint Broussard