Photo Credits: JUSTIN HAN / AGGIE / The interior of the KDVS studio in Lower Freeborn Hall. October 21, 2019.
Moving out of Freeborn will be bittersweet, challenging for radio station
KDVS, UC Davis’ student-run, on-campus radio station which broadcasts on 90.3 FM to the greater Sacramento area, has occupied a few different spaces since its founding in 1964. The organization has occupied both a dormitory laundry room and a space in Kerr Hall in its past, but has been broadcasting out of Lower Freeborn Hall since 1967.
The upcoming demolition of Freeborn Hall, however, puts the organization in a tricky spot. As of yet, KDVS does not know where they will be moving to.
Noel Fernandez, a third-year economics major and general manager of KDVS, did not appear to be overly worried in an interview with The California Aggie. His responsibilities as general manager include running the station daily, dealing with FCC regulations, budget, community relations and general oversight.
“It’s all up in the air, still,” Fernandez said. “We have people looking for us [from] ASUCD and campus.”
In 2014, Freeborn Hall was closed to the public after failing seismic tests. Freeborn Hall’s basement — often referred to as Lower Freeborn — was deemed fit for use. The basement has remained open and continues to provide space for several ASUCD units, including Entertainment Council, The California Aggie, Aggie Studios and KDVS. In 2018, the university released plans to demolish the entirety of Freeborn Hall after concluding that renovations to the historic building would be too costly for its worth, forcing Lower Freeborn’s occupants to make plans for relocation.
The decision was announced over a year ago and destruction is planned to occur in the near future.
“This whole ordeal has been happening for years now,” Fernandez said. “I don’t think anyone has definite dates of when [Freeborn Hall] is going to be demolished.”
While other units in Lower Freeborn have solid arrangements — The Aggie, for instance, will relocate to a house on A Street — KDVS has yet to decide where they’re going, or when.
Knowing that all of the other units are moving out, the organization knows that its time is also coming.
“I think KDVS is more of a logistical problem, because there is so much more stuff that we have to keep,” Fernandez said.
The station’s interior is decorated with vintage posters and sentimental memorabilia. KDVS has accumulated thousands of pieces of musical collectibles, including stickers, posters, CDs and vinyls. There is a recording room, a maze of their record and CD collection and multiple rooms for their DJs to listen to music. Moving will be no easy task for KDVS, as they will have to essentially move the entire station.
“It’s definitely going to be a really big project,” said Nicolas Dinato, a third-year philosophy and political science major, and development coordinator at KDVS. “Here at KDVS, everyone here is very passionate. We have a large community of both students and community members from around Davis/Yolo County area. It’s just going to be a big project where we all band together and move all of our vinyls, all of our CDs. We have, like, a million posters, a lot of which are really, really old, so it’s going to be a big process of slowly taking everything down and moving it over. It’s going to be a lot of work, but we’re definitely capable.”
It could take weeks for the radio station to sort through its collection, pack its belongings, and move and organize it elsewhere. With such a large collection, one might think that the station would consider donating or discarding some items.
“We have a team of archivists [whose] job it is to identify the ‘KDVS’ memorabilia we should keep directly in the studio and archive the things we should look to preserve,” Fernandez said in an email. “Their main focus is the posters, stickers and such that accumulated through the years. All of them are sent by artists or labels, and people have been sticking them on our walls ever since. Throwing away all this history is not an option.”
Having been in room 14 in Lower Freeborn for 20 years, the staff and community of listeners are emotional about having to leave.
“For a lot of people at the station, it’s a little disheartening because of the fact that we’ve been here for so long,” Dinato said. “There is a lot of culture and history down here, but at the same time, we’re hopeful for the future. We’re excited to start a new era for KDVS when we move to the new location, to increase our campus visibility and our outreach.”
While the future for KDVS remains undecided, the station’s staff is still enjoying entertaining their listeners from Lower Freeborn in the short time they have left. Moving to a different location surely will not change the station nor its impact in the community, but it will be bittersweet to all involved in KDVS and their fans to have to be relocated.
Written by: Linh Nguyen — firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article stated that KDVS had been broadcasting out of Lower Freeborn for over 20 years. It has been broadcasting out of Lower Freeborn since 1967. The article has been updated to reflect this for purposes of clarity.