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Davis, California

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Celebrating fifty years of independent radio


This past week KDVS hosted its second fundraiser of the year, called “Freeform Turns 50,” in celebration of its 50th year being broadcasted on air at 90.3 FM. The weeklong fundraiser included food and music events with different opportunities each day for fundraising at local restaurants like Panera, Panda Express, Raja’s Tandoor, Woodstock’s and Blaze. The fundraiser occurred within the KDVS station with telethons and DJ spotlights and among the community with t-shirt contests and discounted prices to their upcoming music festival “ORMF.”

The KDVS Instagram page highlighted individual DJs, listing their reasons for volunteering for KDVS and the fundraising opportunities that were occuring that day. The station’s fundraising goal of $50,000 was necessary and personal. Furthermore, the station’s weeklong fundraiser concluded with a Delta of Venus Dance Party as a final celebration of the many things that KDVS has done for the community.

There are premiums and different items available for sale at fundraiser.kdvs.org and donations are always accepted.

The money earned from the KDVS fundraiser goes directly to keeping the station running. As a completely student-run organization, KDVS requires funding for studio equipment, new vinyl and CDs and additional money to pay for the bands that play at their house shows, festivals and other events.

Francesca Iacono, a second-year gender, sexuality, and women’s studies major, who has been a KDVS DJ for five quarters, expressed her appreciation for the station.

“It’s hard to keep something alive that’s freeform and completely student and community run, especially as radio stations are dying out a bit and lower freeborn is being filled with cement in the next few years,” Iacono said. “KDVS has brought me my best friends and the dopest community of all type[s] of people that share a love for music, the DIY scene and a culture that’s missed by mainstream interests. KDVS is my favorite part about Davis, and I’m sure a lot of my fellow DJs would agree.”

The station’s website explains its humble origins from the laundry room of “the now defunct Beckett-Hughes dormitories” in 1963. It has since grown into one of the nation’s largest freeform university-based stations. Much like National Public Radio, KDVS receives most of their funding through on-air underwriting or sponsorship and private donations in order to remain the only 24/7 year-round live broadcasting station in the UC system.

Jacob Engel, a fourth-year political science major and general manager of KDVS, explained the history and importance of KDVS as a student radio station.

“We held something similar to an NPR telethon,” Engel said. “We had about three to four people at all times waiting to answer phones, and it turned the whole station into a little party during the week with a lot of food coming in and a lot of folks down there fundraising. We are trying to really highlight all of the history of KDVS through this fundraiser because we are moving out of Freeborn Hall.”

A lot of bands, like The Police, have gotten their big break at KDVS.

“We have an autographed picture of Sting showing his appreciation for KDVS,” Engel said. “We are definitely highlighting all our history and everything we have done in the fifty years as KDVS when we go out and interact with the community this week through our fundraiser.”

Tania Quintana, a third-year gender, sexuality, and women’s studies, American studies and psychology triple major, shared her love for the KDVS community as a KDVS DJ.

“My favorite thing about KDVS, if I had to pick one, is the infinite love for sound the KDVS community has,” Quintana said. “I love being with people when they listen to their favorite songs in the booth or discover new finds in the library. The way folx contemplate on a well done PA show, jam out at a LISA session, dance and mosh at our house shows, or turn the volume up for a heated Sports broadcast is priceless.”

More than a student-run organization, KDVS is an on-campus hub for creativity, expression and alternative music. Those involved dedicate many hours to prepare their shows, which range from talk and sports shows to eclectic DJ sets. Those who listen have their favorite shows and are guaranteed to hear music they have never heard before. The week-long fundraiser and DJ spotlights highlighted the individuality that KDVS fosters and encourages through its music and engagement with the community.

Written By: Rosie Schwarz — arts@theaggie.org


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