Campus radio show gives listeners an alternative to mainstream music

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The show airs live Monday nights and is available for streaming.

Dillon Holloway

Campus radio station KSYM 90.1 FM now features a late-night show dedicated to urban music 11 p.m.-1 a.m. every Monday.

 “TNT” began airing in April and features a two-hour presentation of up-and-coming and noncommercial artists ­­­ as well as classics younger listeners may not be familiar with, Tommy Banks, radio-television-broadcast sophomore and KSYM assistant program director, said Nov. 17.

“A lot of people don’t really know that there is a legitimate talent pool here of hip-hop and R&B artists,” Banks said.

Some local artists who have appeared on “TNT” include Karl Anthony, soul singer AMEA and hip-hop duo MC2, Banks said.

“We want to incorporate them into the show and also bring out artists that were mainstream but for whatever reason they kind of got pushed to the side because they are not doing what is considered hip-hop and R&B now,” Banks said.

Hip-hop music originated on Aug. 11, 1973, at a block party in Bronx, N.Y., according to the History Channel’s website.

The website chronicles the history of hip-hop, beginning with Clive Campbell, also known as DJ Kool Herc, the originator.

Campbell used two turntables to play two identical copies of a jazz or funk record, switching back and forth to extend drum breaks.

Drum breaks are described as “the moments in a record when the vocals and other instruments would drop out completely for a measure or two of pure rhythm,” according to the website.

Campbell used his drum break technique, known today as the break-beat, to continuously loop beats which were most popular with dancers in attendance.

The break-beat DJ style of Campbell is also believed to have helped inspire break dancing.

According to, a nonprofit website that serves as an online reference guide to African-American history, Campbell also spoke and rhymed over the songs he played, an early precursor to rapping.

Banks, who performs under the name “Tommy 2X,” co-hosts the show with RTVB sophomore Mahlon “The Solution” Thomas.

Banks said he and Thomas select the music to move away from the habits of mainstream radio.

“I’m listening to mainstream music that’s on the radio, and the scene has really changed drastically,” he said.

Local stations that play hip-hop and R&B include 96.1 FM NOW and 98.5 FM The Beat.

“We said, ‘Hey, we have the opportunity to do our own show where we select the music instead of having a computer select it.’”

Radio stations usually rely on a computer-generated selection of music from a predetermined playlist, often made up of songs from the Billboard Hot 100.

The Billboard Hot 100 is a ranking list, published weekly by Billboard magazine, for songs in the United States, The rankings began in 1958.

Banks said the show provides an alternative to music on mainstream radio today, which is repetitive and overly commercialized.

“We can put out our vision of hip-hop and R&B and bring it back to what it used to be; because right now it is very, very redundant,” he said. “A lot of stations are playing the same music over and over again.”

Banks said that he and Thomas attended a local hip-hop show Nov. 12 at Ventura SATX, a music venue located downtown, as part of their ongoing search for new artists to include in the show’s programming.

“This is something that if we know there is a hip-hop act coming out, we’ll go up there and try to talk to artists and listen to their music,” he said.

Banks said feedback through the show’s Facebook page has been largely positive.

Listeners of the show have praised its originality and diversity.

“We don’t play just rap music or just R&B music,” he said. “We go back to the Motown era. We go back to the ’70s where they had that funk and the disco era, forgotten songs.”

Those who are unable to listen live on Monday nights may stream the show as early as the next day by going to

Radio Free America is a website for college radio across the U.S., and there is no fee to register.

For more information about the “TNT” show, visit the show’s Facebook page

To find out about other shows and events happening at KSYM, visit


Leave A Reply