BEING A FEMALE disc jockey in the rugged world of country music is a little like being the female lead in a John Wayne movie. You get a lot of attention, but not always for the right reasons.
T.J. Evans of KKAT is out to change all that.As the morning DJ on the station, she tries to let professionalism do her talking for her.
A native of Minnesota, Evans came West in 1982 to work for KZJO, moved over to KCPX, then hooked up with "The Kat." The reason, she says, wasn't the music, but the management. She liked the way things were done, the emphasis on community involvement, for example.
"Today I don't hear many sexist remarks from listeners," she says. "Oh, once in awhile at a concert some guy will tell me I'm `pretty mouthy for a woman' or something, but not often.
"I was in rock music for years, and those people are out in left field. Country people are more down-to-earth. I was especially impressed with George Jones when he came through."
Has she ever thought of switching sides to do a little crooning herself?
"I think that's every disc jockey's fantasy," she says. "Sometimes I sit in the booth and sing along with the rec-ords. We have to close all the doors. And if my voice ever went out over the air we'd lose our listeners. I can't carry a tune."
Evans also has the self-confidence to tell a few jokes on herself. There was that Christmas fund-raiser, for instance.
"We were on remote - live - and I was at the mike trying to keep warm beside a propane heater," she says. "My pants caught on fire. The guy I was working with - Richard Cano - looked over at me, took the mike and said `Well, we have to go now. T.J.'s on fire.'
"I was home for three days with the burns."
And what about the future? Any big career moves in store?
"Who knows?" she says. "Right now I like what I'm doing. Country music is changing all the time. There's a stereotype of the country listener; he's supposed to be a toothless, good old boy. But that's not true anymore."
One reason that stereotype is changing is people like T.J. Evans are out there adding new wrinkles to an old business.