A Familiar Voice

 

KPGG 103.9’S FABIENNE THRASH IS PASSIONATE ABOUT USING HER TIME AND TALENTS TO SERVE THE TEXARKANA COMMUNITY 

by AMBER SMITH ZALISKI

 
  Photo by Molly Minter

Photo by Molly Minter

You would probably notice her unique style, but if you passed each other in a grocery store aisle you’d likely keep searching for the next item on your list. If she happened to ask you to pass her a bag for her oranges, however, you may feel a flash of familiarity – not quite deja-vu, but how do I know her? If you have spent any time at all listening to local radio station KPGG 103.9, you would know in a heartbeat that this is Fabienne Thrash. For over four and a half decades, Fabienne has been broadcasting on different radio stations around the Ark-La-Tex, and she is still excited for every day of it.

As a sophomore at Ashdown High School in 1972, Fabienne signed up for an explorer post at her local radio station, the newly opened KMLA 103.9. “I was the only girl that signed up for it. All the guys were more interested in hunting or football or what-have- you, so I got the opportunity to work a lot, and I’ve never had the sense to walk away from it!” she laughed. “Radio has always been the thing that I love.”

Over the course of her career, Fabienne has spent time in many different stations, played countless requests, and kept pace with the changes from vinyl to digital, but at its heart, she believes radio is still the same. “The thing I love most about radio is the people,” she said. “We have a fabulous work family, and I love my audience. I know they’re out there, and I can kind of feel them. I have my regular callers and plenty of people just passing through - you never know who you’re going to meet or get to talk to. We exist to serve the public interest, so as long as we are keeping up with the public experience in our community, there will always be local radio. It’s important to me that listeners know there is another human being on the other side.”

It is also that variety of each day on the job that helps Fabienne thrive. Typically, she shows up early to prepare, researching historical and current events of the day and getting the details on local happenings, but once she goes live at 10 a.m., anything could happen. “There are no typical days,” she said. “Being a deejay is kind of like a duck you might see gliding across a pond. It looks so smooth and serene, but under the water those legs are just a pedaling!” That may be especially true with all of the advancements in technology she has witnessed throughout her career. “It is amazing how fast technology changes now. That can be challenging at times, but I have always liked a challenge.”

  photo by Molly Minter

photo by Molly Minter

The music, of course, is what ties it all together, and Fabienne feels at home in her niche. While she stays up to date with current music of all genres and plays it all for parties and events with her personal deejay business, Fabienne has always been a country girl. Earlier in her career she enjoyed a 10-year run in Shreveport working for KWKH, home of the nationally-known Louisiana Hayride, and for the past 13 years, Fabienne has been the daytime voice at KPGG 103.9 in Texarkana where she plays all the best in classic country. “Oh, I like all of it, and I love the history and the stories that go with it,” she said. “I adore Willie (Nelson), and I love Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, I’m an Elvis fan. They have earned their spots. I respect that, and I enjoy talking about it and sharing their music.”

A dear friend and professional voice actor once told Fabienne that she would never be able to do anything other than play country music in a small country town. “Yep, and that is good enough for me,” she told him. “Of course I sound country - I fit who I am!” Fabienne says she still doesn’t love the sound of her own voice 100% of the time, and she laughs out loud thinking back to the first commercial she ever recorded as an eager 16-year-old. “That’s when ‘hat’ had two syllables the way I said it. My boss ran it just like that so it would embarrass me and make me conscious of my speech and pronunciations. It was one of the best lessons I have ever been taught!”

Fabienne Thrash believes in making the best of what’s around you, and she is passionate about using her time and talents to serve her community. “Texarkana really has so much to offer,” she said. “A perfect day in town might be coffee early, chatting with folks, a walk around Spring Lake Park, riding around with the top down, checking out some art, maybe a show at the Perot, being at home with my family.” More than anything, Fabienne is thankful to be doing what she loves day after day. “I’m thankful for life. This life. My life.”