Jessica Whyte Music Director at CKDU 97.5 FM in Halifax, NS

Jessica Whyte Music Director at CKDU 97.5 FM in Halifax, NS
Jessica Whyte loved the Halifax scene so much she moved there, and is now queen of all things rock'n'roll at CKDU 97.5 FM. Long before she scored the job as Music Director, she was a tireless champion of fledgling Canadian bands, the fast-forward button, and innovative — but not impractical — CD cases.

How many CDs go out for play every week?
I put in 35 this week and two weeks ago I added 117. It fluctuates depending on time of year. I also post to our message board with my featured records, and a full list of everything added to new releases. It gets volunteers talking on the message board about whatís out for play, and sometimes artists get on there too.

Do programmers play a role in soliciting music?
It's usually specialty programmers who do research and initiate contact with labels. Paul Whalen is the king of getting Canadian and Irish metal. The request I get most is from world programmers looking for CanCon. Yoanis Roche is always looking for more Canadian Latin artists and Zofeen Shujaatullah is constantly hunting for Indian and Pakistani beat music from Canada. We know it's out there — send us your records!

What's the best way to get campus radio attention?
A good name, and an even better cover. If you don't have those, it's gonna be a really rocky road. And come to our out-of-the-way city! Almost every band that comes here charts: Immaculate Machine, BA Johnston, Death From Above, Books on Tape.

What's the worst way to try to get attention?
Wasting money. Whether itís glossy photos, piles of photocopies or courier services. The worst was a Toronto outfit that sent their releases in huge foam board "laptops." God knows how much money they spent.

What kinds of things make you remember an artist?
The handwritten note from JeTProjecTLabs was sweet, as was the phone message from Bodega thanking us for playing their record. When I get a call from an indie artist that notices they were on our charts, it brightens my day because it makes me feel like we brightened theirs.

What mistakes do bands consistently make?
Slip cases, argh! Bands donít realise that their record is competing with hundreds of others. How are people going to find it to play it? I hate cutting up cardboard sleeves to make Frankenstein jewel case inserts. I have to really like a record to do arts and crafts.

How should artists approach stations about playing on-air?
Email to find out what shows you might fit on, then contact the host. Jon Bruhm of Border Crossing hosts live performances almost every week. Troy Richter's Tom Savini Fair is infamous for guest DJs and quirky surprise guests. Artists need to understand that show hosts determine content, not MDs. When performers call up and say, "I'll be in town on Saturday at two p.m., can I be on-air?" it shows that they don't respect that we have scheduled programming.