KUZU Signs a New Lease

Despite some minor setbacks, KUZU has signed a lease and officially has a place to broadcast their LPFM programming. Denton’s first LPFM radio station, KUZU was set to hit airwaves last summer after it hit its Kickstarter goal. There is more than one may think that goes into opening a non-profit radio station.

On December 9, 2016, Peter Salisbury, chair of KUZU’s board of directors, met with Chief Officer Sherri McDade and Accountant Darlene Hattox of the Denton Housing Authority to sign the lease on their new space that resides on Elm Street.

“It was an end to a long process and hopefully the beginning of a long relationship,” Salisbury says. “I first met Sherri & Darlene at their offices back in May and told them about the project and how their building fits into our vision.”

Photo by Andi Harman. 

The city inspected KUZU’s new space on November 28, 2016, and they received their Certificate of Occupancy the next day. “We had a security system installed and then signed insurance papers last week,” Salisbury says, “so the space is ready for move in and set up as KUZU headquarters.”

Having never tried to start a licensed FM broadcast station, Salisbury and his team have run into a couple of bumps along the way. “Everyday has been a teachable moment,” he says. “You can rest assured that no one is making money doing this project and spare times fluctuate, so the pace has been slower than desired. But I am extremely proud of where we are and where we are going.”

Their biggest problem so far? The antenna. “It was one of the first problems to solve in the early stages of applying to the FCC, and it will be the final step of getting us on the air,” Salisbury says. 

The last piece of the puzzle is the installation of the antenna. The most complicated, complex, and expensive part of this entire budget, Salisbury says, is the installation of the antenna. 

“Getting this right will ensure the clear and consistent operation that we and the community at large would expect,” Salisbury says. “It’s also the area that has taken the most steps, modifications, approvals, permits, structural analysis and negotiations involving national companies and federal agencies, of which we are in the final stages.”

Due to the constraints as an LPFM radio station, KUZU has to settle into airspace that isn’t already overly saturated with radio waves. “Being so close to a metropolitan area definitely doesn’t help,” Salisbury says, “but there are engineering tricks to alleviate certain issues. In order for us to have our antenna, the epicenter of broadcast, closest to the center of town, we had to design an array of four separate antennas.” 

“The four antennas are to be stacked vertically and spaced out in certain lengths from each other to attain proper tuning,” Salisbury says. “This makes our antenna itself 30 feet tall. Now, that 30 ft antenna array has to be installed onto the tower 115 ft up in the air. Quite a task and one that definitely has to be done with finesse and fortitude.”

The non-profit radio station will be planning annual benefit concerts and will continue to write proposals for grants for funds, as monetary resources are a major issue for all non-profit organizations. “We were lucky enough to have a ground swell of support from the community, and enough funds to make it through to this point,” Salisbury says. “We have purchased equipment and covered most of the costs and still have the budget for antenna install.”

The survival of KUZU will heavily rely on fundraising and community support.

There will be more information about KUZU’s programming schedule and a launch party coming up soon. Stay tuned to The Dentonite for all of your KUZU updates.

KUZU's new location is located at 317 S. Elm Street in Denton, TX and will be on air at 92.9 FM in the near future, date to be determined. 

Photos by Andi Harman
HEader image design by Brittany Keeton