Wichita is home to many talented musicians, but it’s not always the easiest thing to hear them.
Plenty of bands perform on a weekly basis at Wichita bars and other venues, but it’s hard to make every show — especially if you’re under 21.
But nowadays, there are various radio stations and podcasts that play music by Wichita-based artists on a regular basis — for those that prefer to listen from home or in the car.
ICT Radio launched last January as an online-only station that plays original songs exclusively by Wichita musicians. It streams 24/7 online at www.ict-radio.com or on mobile apps that support Shoutcast streams.
Songs are not separated by genre — you may hear a country song, then a punk-rock song, then a hip-hop song all in a row.
Tim Klein, founder and programming director of ICT Radio, says that’s how his listeners like it.
“We’ve unintentionally created a community where everybody’s supporting each other — fans are intermingling and discovering new music,” he said.
Listening to the station this week, we heard mostly country and rock songs, with occasional metal sprinkled in — a few of the artists featured include Mountain Deer Revival, Kapybara, Flashpoint, Rise Again and Yellow Bellied Sullivan.
Since launching a year ago, the station has added more than 90 local bands to its playlist and has more than 15 hours of music in rotation — and it’s always accepting new submissions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It doesn’t play just anything, though. Klein said all submissions are subject to a review process to determine if the recordings are of a high-enough standard to air.
“You send me a garage recording and I’m probably not going to put it on the station,” he said. “The production quality that’s going on around the City of Wichita is just incredible — there are great studios that are doing phenomenal work.”
He said in the last year listeners have tuned in to the station from 120 different countries and in all 50 states.
“If you would have told me that a year ago, I would have laughed at you,” Klein said. “It was just local, local, local and it’s just turned into this monster.”
The station regularly gets submissions from outside the Wichita area — so often that Klein has started a second radio station to play those tracks, called National Underground.
“We’re getting all this stuff from Canada, from Australia and the U.K., and we’re like, it’d be a crime to sit on all this music,” Klein said. “They’re unsigned artists from all over the world, and we’ve noticed that the bands from Wichita are better. I mean, it’s just crazy the amount of talent that’s in Wichita right now.”
Klein said the Wichita area is going through “a renaissance as far as music and art,” and that the station “got in at the right time.”
“We’re so thankful to be a part of it and be able to feature these guys,” he said. “Hopefully we’re a springboard for their careers.”
The local love can also be heard on standard over-the-air FM radio stations.
On Sunday nights at 10 p.m., Alt 107.3-FM hosts the “Native Noise ICT” show, a roughly hour-long program that features music by Wichita artists.
The show, hosted by DJ Tight Pants, is also available in podcast form on the iHeartRadio mobile app and online at www.iheart.com/podcast/714-native-noise-ict-29999210.
Flight 100.5-FM plays local music in its rotation — bands like Uche, Capybara and Spirit of the Stairs have been featured in the past — message the station on Facebook to submit tunes for consideration.
KMUW 89.1-FM also plays local music, primarily on “Strange Currency,” hosted by Jedd Beaudoin from 8-10 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, and on Carla Eckels’ “Soulsations” R&B and gospel program at 6 p.m. Sundays — though those programs play more than just local music.