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WUTK-FM 90.3 “The Rock” at Steve Wildsmith

Steve Wildsmith

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Archive for the ‘WUTK-FM 90.3 “The Rock”’ tag

Local scene odds ‘n’ ends: “Behind the Barn,” WUTK fundraising and the Westside Daredevils

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The Trinity River bluegrass band will perform on the inaugural "Behind the Barn" at Barley's Maryville on Thursday, Oct. 10.

The Trinity River bluegrass band will perform on the inaugural "Behind the Barn" at Barley's Maryville on Thursday, Oct. 10.


Good news, live music lovers: “Behind the Barn,” which ran from 1999 to 2004 as a live radio show broadcast from Barley’s Knoxville in the Old City and hosted by Blount County singin’, songwritin’ couple Jeff Barbra and Sarah Pirkle, is coming back, and this time it’ll be happening in Maryville. “Behind the Barn” (version 2.0, for lack of a better term) will launch at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10, and will take place at the same time every Thursday at the new Barley’s Maryville, 128 W. Broadway Ave., downtown. Oh, and it’s free.

The series originated with one of the former owners of Barley’s in Knoxville, Doug Beatty, who teamed up with Barbra and Pirkle to bring a little life to Barley’s and the Old City during the middle of the week. The three teamed up with WDVX-FM to sculpt the program, which took place on Wednesday nights and gave a venue and an audience to regional and national acts passing through East Tennessee on their way to weekend gigs. Some of the acts that played on the old “Behind the Barn” included John Cowan, Karl Shiflett and the Big Country Show, the Kruger Brothers and The Dempseys (who wound up standing on the bar, performing without shirts by the end of the night), among a slew of others.

The first guests for the new “Behind the Barn” — now sponsored and broadcast on WFIV-FM, i105 — will be the Trinity River Bluegrass Band. Future acts will be announced soon, Barbra told us this week.


Tuesday, Oct. 1, is College Radio Day, and there’s no better way to celebrate it than by giving a hand to the best college radio station in East Tennessee.

Don’t take our word for it — WUTK-FM, 90.3 The Rock, has been voted “Knoxville’s Best Radio Station” for the last eight years in the Metro Pulse “Best of Knoxville” annual awards, and was also named “Most Improved College Radio Station in North America” in 2011 by College Music Journal. It also serves as a laboratory for communications students, and approximately 75 of them work at WUTK every semester.

On College Radio Day, the station will hold an on-air fundraiser, and station personnel will be actively pushing the fund drive on air, through social media, and by other means, encouraging listeners to donate to the Impact Big Ideas Fund on the station’s website at throughout the day. WUTK is in immediate need of replacing its transmitter tower, and a goal of $15,000 has been set.

The station has been able to generate close to $2,000, so far, but because the station receives no direct funding from the University of Tennessee, students and station managers must generate their own revenue, mostly through donations, corporate sponsorship and underwriting.  A new transmitter tower will allow WUTK to continue to transmit the terrestrial signal at 90.3 FM and could potentially strengthen the current signal within the existing coverage map, according to a press release; the station also streams live audio through the website, and on the Tune In phone application.

For more information, email WUTK General Manager Benny Smith at bsmith60@utk.edu. If you haven’t tuned in, do so — you’ll hear more local music, more non-mainstream music and more good music than you could ever expect. And come Oct. 1, pitch in a little bit of your cash to help out a program that first signed on the air in 1982.


Remember how back in May we told you about the imminent demise of the Westside Daredevils? The band was on the verge of releasing a self-titled swan song album, which you can download on Bandcamp, and whatever the reason was for the break-up, the boys have put them aside in order to play us all one more goodbye show. That’ll take place at 10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, at The Pilot Light, 106 E. Jackson Ave. in Knoxville’s Old City. Admission is $5, and the band Successful Failure is also on the bill. We’ve been a fan of the band since 2002’s “All Things Small Produce a Spark,” which we raved about and put on our list of the best albums of that year. They’ve been dependable purveyors of pop-rock for more than a decade around these parts, and they’ll be missed.

Written by wildsmith

September 19th, 2013 at 11:39 am

I want my WUTK on my MTV …

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WUTKrockWho knew MTV is still in the business of promoting music?

Personally, I thought reality shows killed the video star on that cable channel years ago, but not so fast: MTVU, a division of Viacom’s MTV family of networks, is a 24-hour TV channel available on more than 750 college and university campuses across the country, as well as on several digital cable packages. So when MTVU decided to spotlight WUTK-FM, 90.3 “The Rock,” it’s a pretty big deal.

The cable channel contacted WUTK a few months back, informing management that WUTK is “one of the 10 most listened-to college radio stations in American,” according to MTV’s research. MTVU wanted to feature WUTK in a new segment, “College Radio Countdown,” and did so last week. As part of its time in the limelight, the WUTK staff picked 10 national artists getting regularly requested on The Rock (Carolina Chocolate Drops, Cloud Nothings, SBTRKT, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Jack White, Of Monsters and Men, Doomtree, Cage the Elephant); in addition, Rock staffers were asked to submit five non-MTV playlist videos.

Being the huge supporter of local music the station happens to be, they of course went Knoxville-centric for their picks, submitting videos by East Tennessee artists LiL iFFy, The Theorizt, Senryu, The Black Cadillacs and Moon Taxi (a Nashville band with Knoxville ties through its keyboard player).

Congrats, WUTK. You can see the station’s segment on “College Radio Countdown” here, and you can browse MTVU’s Tumblr account here to see those local videos.

Written by wildsmith

September 10th, 2012 at 11:08 am