30 years of KJHK: Kris Gillespie

DJ and music director from 1989-92.

First song you played on KJHK: Naked Raygun: "Treason"

How you were involved in KJHK?

I'd grown up listening to the station through the '80s and loved it, so I started out DJing as soon as I could out of high school. I was a bit eager to say the least: I would spend very long hours at the station reviewing albums, cutting legal IDs, concert spots and PSAs in the ancient production studio, hanging out on other peoples shifts. It would be safe to say that I spent more time at the station than in class. But, by the end of my first school year, I was music director, which set my life off on its current trajectory way back when.

What are some things you learned or experienced during your time at KJ?

I learned as much (if not more) working at the station as I did from any other aspect of my KU experience. It was an excellent opportunity to experience the same challenges, rewards and disappointments as the real world but in an environment where a few mistakes could be made and lessons could be learned before it "counted," so to speak. The staff at that time was such a variety of personalities and characters that the only way such a rabble could have come together would have been at KJHK. We had a seriously old hippie, lots of musicians, country singers, jazzy hepcats, hip hop community activists, art students, frat brothers and sorority sisters, student athletes, aspiring politicians, goth industrialists, speed metal enthusiasts, Deadheads, and of course, Rod Davis, our chief engineer and unofficial chaperone. I would like to think we all came away with a broader understanding of each other's tastes and quirks ... I know I did.

What do you do now and how does your experience at KJ apply what you are doing?

I'm the general manager/A&R; for the North American office of the Domino Recording Company, a London-based record label. We represent a pretty wide array of artists, including Franz Ferdinand, Clinic, The Notwist, Four Tet, Caribou and Sons & Daughters. Needless to say, my musical education from the long hours at KJHK prepared me for my line of work and the aforementioned lessons in personal politics and gaining a more rounded appreciation of different walks of life also help.

Can you share any fun memories you have from your time there?

I have lifelong friends that I met at the station, including my wife, and for that alone it was a worthy experience. For a lot of us, it was our clubhouse, our social center and, when you add the resonance of music to it, something that was very easy to get passionate about.


cvillehawk 17 years, 7 months ago

Oh, God, how could I forget Rod Davis! That guy was so cool.

I have always dreamed that if I hit the big bucks, I'd build KJ a fantastic new studio space. I have to admit, though, that the funkiness of that building is a big part of my memories of my time there, and I think it would lose a bit of soul if you moved it somewhere sterile and nice.

Maybe funky, but larger is the key.

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