Salt Lake's KRCL is getting a new general manager from close to home. KUER's content director, Tristin Tabish, will lead the community music station beginning next month. For Tristin, who's been with KUER the last two decades, it's a return to her roots. We talked to Tristin about her goals for the station and how the FM radio industry has changed since her early days.
Tristin: I started my career at KRCL... I was just out of high school and there was a part-time opening in the office. I was a big fan of the Saturday night punk rock show 'Behind the Zion Curtain,' so I'm like, 'Oh, my gosh I can work at this place that produces the show,' and so it really feels like I'm circling back home.
Julia: How has the media landscape changed for music since you first worked for KRCL — especially with the rise of on-demand listening and streaming music?
Tristin: When I started at KRCL in 1991, it was a patchwork, kind of a quilt, format where you would have a Vietnamese music show and then you would have a woman's rock show and so there came a point in the station's history where it had to evolve and grow in order to keep its CPB funding. So, today we're just constantly looking at how we can compete. But I think what we can look at to make us stand out is our sense of localism at the station.
Julia: So KRCL's been in the news this year — they lost one of their big weekday hosts and then, of course, their GM. Do you feel that you are steadying a somewhat rocky ship?
Tristin: It was a little rocky. Any organization that loses people in positions where you have a small staff... that causes a little bit of panic at first. But I think any change is ultimately positive because you're stretching new muscles and you're learning how to work through that change.
Julia: I've heard you say that even though you've become a 'newsie' that you really loved music, and that's what you wanted to return to. But I'm curious what you will miss about KUER most?
Tristin: I will miss working toward our mission. It's so important right now with everything that's happening in politics and the world. The work that we're doing is really important. ...I'm not going to cry
Julia: Tristin, we'll miss you.
Tristin: Thank you, Julia.
This article has been modified to clarify Tabish has been with KUER 20 years, but content director for only part of that time.