One man's airwaves

Chris Singleton

photo by howard hardee

Chris Singleton wears all the hats at Radio 101.7, the alternative station KVXX out of Hamilton City. He's truly a one-man show who serves as engineer, program director and promotions director. He produces and schedules everything you hear on the air, except for ads. Singleton, 33, is originally from southern Florida, where he grew up knowing he wanted a career in radio. As soon as he started studying broadcasting at the University of Florida, he landed a job at a Top 40 station. But as a new hire, he was among the first laid off during the Great Recession, so he moved to the Bay Area to crash on a buddy's couch. Singleton then worked at a station in San Jose, and moved to Chico for the job with Radio 101.7, which went on air in September 2013. Turn the radio dial to 101.7 or look it up on Facebook.

What’s your job like, day-to-day?

It's not so bad. Once a station is set up, it just runs. But when there's a problem, something wrong with the transmitter or something, then it becomes a long day. Just recently, on Friday afternoon, we went off the air. I had to drive up to the transmitter tower in Cohasset and see what was wrong, and it turned out there were a bunch of kids drinking on top of the tower. They had kicked a wire or something and knocked us off the air. I was expecting to have to recycle a piece of equipment, but I had to call the police. It turned into a long day.

How did you get interested in radio as a kid?

You drive around with your parents and listen to radio in the car, and that's how you find your music identity when you're young. My mom, though, listened to talk radio, and there were so many entertaining folks. In south Florida there was a show called “Rick and Suds.” We were driving through town, and the guy makes a fart joke on the air while we just happened to be driving by his home, and it was this mansion. I'm like, “This guy lives in a mansion, and he makes fart jokes all day long? That's something I could do for the rest of my life.”

Do people recognize your voice?

No. I'm sure some DJs around town get some of that, but I'm also not one to put myself out there. I don't run around and say, “I'm the guy from Radio 101.7.” That's just not me. And plus, I don't talk the same when I'm on the radio. When you're on the air, it's almost like subconscious the way you start enunciating more, paying attention to your tones and inflections.

What kind of music do you like to play?

I'm a metal guy, and I've listened to a lot of grunge. Obviously, we don't do metal, but since I've been programming 101.7, I've come to really enjoy the music we play. I think it's really good. When I was a kid, the music put out on the radio, my parents thought it was crap. The music being put out now is legitimately good. Anyone from any generation can listen and enjoy it.