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Davis, California

Monday, February 26, 2024

An inside look at KDVS

As many students know, KDVS 90.3 FM is UC Davis’ freeform radio network, which broadcasts an eclectic mix of music genres along with news, free speech and radio theater shows throughout Davis and Sacramento.

Although many are aware that our campus has this resource, many unique aspects and facts of this radio station are left unknown to those who aren’t involved with the station. Renner Burkle, fourth-year biochemical engineering major and general manager of KDVS, explains what “freeform radio” actually means.

“We play anything and everything from every genre of music, along with talk shows that discuss any topic, as long as what we play falls within FCC and University guidelines,” Burkle said. “KDVS does not cater its programming to any particular demographic, as it offers a vast range of music – from hip-hop to reggae to spoken word.”

KDVS offers a large range of music in the studio library for the DJs to choose from.

“The studio’s vinyl collection is unofficially regarded as the second largest collection this side of the Mississippi,” Burkle said. “There is so much obscure, awesome music in there and you can’t find it anywhere else.”

However, DJs are not limited to selecting music from the vinyl collection for their shows.

“Every week, the radio hosts can create their music lineup from their own computers, CDs, grandparents’ secret stash, or internet websites,” Burkle said.

Eve Wanetick, third-year design major and a former radio DJ, expresses her positive experience hosting a radio show.

“It was a great experience as a student to share my passion for music with the rest of the community in an accepting environment,” Wanetick said. “As a person with eclectic music taste, I felt like I could broaden my knowledge with the extensive music library. So many independent radio stations are under threat of being shut down, so Davis is really lucky to have KDVS. It’s such a unique and strongly-supported community radio station.”

In addition to radio programming, KDVS also has its own record label. KDVS Recordings is the only university-funded non-profit record label in the U.S.

Currently under the KDVS Recordings, local artists release music in the Tape of the Month club.

“Members pay to receive a tape by local Davis musicians every month,” Burkle said. It is a unique way for local musicians to gain exposure and for listeners to acquire new, diverse music. “We no longer have a recording studio, so we have scaled back to small releases. But we are hoping to get a recording studio again, in which case we will be able to release a lot more music,” Burkle said.

Live in-studio performances are broadcasted every Thursday evening. On average, KDVS will host two bands per week, each playing for half an hour in the studio. Local artists can contact KDVS to perform live on the air.

Additionally, KDVS hosts at least one or two live shows per week at different venues around Davis. Mostly the bands perform at house shows. “The bands that perform are always exciting and unique, and it is always fun to watch them perform while you sit in someone’s living room,” Wanetick said.

KDVationS is the network’s quarterly magazine and program guide that features interviews, reviews, articles, creative writing, original artwork and photos from KDVS events, all assembled by volunteers and DJs. It is an eclectic resource that informs the public about upcoming shows and events, while also expressing diverse ideas and showcasing artwork by students and community members.

Everyone is welcome to submit original work. Copies can be found all over campus, in downtown Davis, Woodland, Sacramento and into the Bay Area.

Nicole Lesnett, fourth-year international relations major and KDVS office coordinator, encourages students to get involved.

“There are a variety of roles to get involved in, including hosting your own radio show as a DJ, working with public affairs, news, sports or KDVationS,” Lesnett said.

In order for students to get their own radio show, they must volunteer for 50 hours during the quarter.

“It sounds like a lot, but volunteering is easy and fun. You can get hours by helping out at house shows, listening to new music, distributing KDVationS, submitting art for KDVationS and making buttons,” Lesnett said. “If you have a co-host, you only need to volunteer 25 hours.”

KDVS is located in 14 Lower Freeborn. The walls are covered in posters, event flyers and album covers, making the environment feel fun and dynamic.

“It is a really nurturing environment and when new people join everyone gets very excited,” Burkle said.

Tune in to 90.3 FM to listen to KDVS, stop by 14 Lower Freeborn if you are interested in getting involved and pick up a copy of KDVationS on campus.

CRISTINA FRIES can be reached at arts@theaggie.org.


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