KDVS, UC Davis’ non-commercial student-run radio station, celebrated its 50th birthday on Feb. 1. Organized by KDVS events director Estefania Alvarez, a free public party was hosted at Rock Band University, featuring both local and Bay Area bands.
Musical performances included Big Sticky Mess, Whiskey Business, Genius, Chad Stockdale and Robert, Beast Nest and Virga. There was a special appearance from Mr. Turntable Head, the mascot of KDVS. Former general managers (GM) were also in attendance.
“I just want to give a big shoutout, a big thank you, to all the former staff members — that’s anyone that’s ever volunteered at KDVS. I joke about us selling out but really, KDVS has stayed true, and that’s awesome,” said Neil Ruud, GM from 2010 to 2012.
The freeform spirit wasn’t lost in the celebration — Ruud deadpanned to the audience about the yet-to-be-determined 2014 to 2015 replacement GM Cameron Cairns.
“We’re going to be holding a competition very soon, actually, to determine the next GM,” Ruud said. “All the former GMs gather around a giant vat of beef stew — this is held under the tower, actually at the Yolo County Landfill — and the new GM is determined by who can survive in the beef stew pit the longest.”
In 2014, the station launched its newly-redesigned website at KDVS.org, and they created an app that streams their live broadcasting.
The station began broadcasting February 1, 1964, from the laundry room of the now-abandoned Beckett Hall dorms. The progressive station has interviewed the likes of Ronald Reagan, Angela Davis and recently Fran Lebowitz.
KDVS is the only UC radio station to broadcast constantly, every day of the year. It is also the parent organization for its record label, KDVS Recordings, the non-profit Common Frequency and the Radio Engineering Research Group at UC Davis. Every quarter, the station also publishes their free newsletter KDViationS, written by the station volunteers.
The station has relocated its broadcasting location multiple times over its 50 active years, settling its main studios in Lower Freeborn Hall in 1966 and the station transmitter from the tower of the Yolo County Landfill just last year.