KUZU is Fully Funded & Set to Launch 24/7 in July

Earlier this year we reported that Denton’s first LPFM radio station would be hitting airwaves this summer within the Denton-DFW area, as well as online 24/7, and as of last Thursday, it is one step closer to becoming a reality. KUZU 92.9 FM just completed their Kickstarter goal, raising more than $26,000 with 240 backers.

With the recent news of Rubber Gloves closing within the next 30 days, last week was a bittersweet time for Denton music. While we are losing an iconic venue, we are gaining a new, (hopefully) soon-to-be iconic radio station.

“I know I can speak for all of us at KUZU when I say that we are deeply saddened by the news of Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios closing,” Peter Salisbury of KUZU says. “That venue has been the saving grace for many people in town who felt on the fringe or a bit different. RGRS is a space that is open to all and a venue where many young bands have cut their teeth.

“You can’t manufacture the feeling you get at RGRS. It’s history. The walls have soaked in the sounds of two decades. It has been a trusted outlet for music, art, theater, and comedy. I don’t want to imagine Denton without RGRS, but now we must.

“In this whirlwind of a year, where we have seemed to lose so much, from music icons to personal friends, this death hits hard,” Salisbury continues. “RGRS has always been a reliable island of escape. A community living room where I’ve always found comfort. I’ve been going there since 1997. That’s my club, that’s our club, that is Denton. There is a gaping hole left by its demise. I can only hope that KUZU can help mend the wound and provide a safe haven for those who feel the loss of Rubber Gloves.”

Denton is amidst a change, there is no denying it. Although not many people are fans of ‘change’ - sometimes it is needed in order to grow. Growth is inevitable in a healthy society. There are bigger questions, though, that have to be answered as far as venues closing and our music scene goes; questions we shan’t delve into right at this moment.

This is a time for celebration. We just got our first LPFM radio station funded! You don’t have to show up for radio, you just have to tune in. And now that the internet is thing, and iPhones and shit, it’s even easier than before.

There are a group of people working tirelessly behind the scenes to see that this radio station launches, that there is a programming schedule nailed down, a marketing strategy, and all the little details in between. We got to chat with each of the board members about what their participation and expertise will bring to the table to make KUZU the iconic radio station we know it’ll be.

Get to know the KUZU Board of Directors:

Erin Findley

The Dentonite: What is your role on the KUZU board?
Erin Findley: My role, like all the other board members, is one that takes on many angles. I brainstorm ideas, organize events, plan strategies, and try to create the station identity. As an educator I bring my experiences in the classroom and knowledge of children to the board. I express my opinions and ideas about programming and how education can play a role in KUZU.

TD: What experience and expertise are you bringing to the table?
EF: Peter and I have had an AM radio station out of our home since 2009 so I feel comfortable with being on the radio. However, with LPFM it’s a completely different ball game, so I’m very excited about learning the “in’s and out’s” of what you can do and what you can’t do in this format.

And as I stated above I come to the board with the expertise of being an educator and team leader. Although, working alongside board members almost daily and creating a non-profit organization together has definitely been new for me. Collaborating with this particular group of KUZU people has been very rewarding. They are all hard-working, creative, intelligent people and we’re lucky that we are all united in our mission for KUZU.

TD: How do see this radio station growing to benefit the entire community?
EF: I have a vision that KUZU 92.9FM will be a staple in Denton (like Mr. Chopsticks or Midway Mart). It will be the norm. I would like to hear conversations where people talk about their favorite show or time to listen in. I’d like to hear that friends that have left Denton enjoy listening in as well. I also would like KUZU to be a vehicle for many different voices in the community, especially children. I’d like to see kids inspired by having a new outlet to share their thoughts and ideas, or just be able to listen to the radio and hear something new that ignites a broader way of thinking.

Peter Salisbury

TD: As a musician, what are you most excited about with the launch of KUZU?
Peter Salisbury:
The chance to play and hear challenging music seldom heard. Music that has inspired me down my own path as an artist, and that will hopefully inspire others. Working at 1670AM over the past several years and sitting in and listening to what others are sharing has opened my eyes and ears to the power of broadcast radio. It can truly be a medium to create art.

TD: What is your history with radio? What do you for with 1670AM?
PS:The desire to start a radio station was born from conversations about the absence of certain infrastructure for the arts in Denton. We seemed to be missing a radio station that represented all the varied musical tastes & talent we are lucky to have in town. After some research, I came across Part 15 AM stations, a way to legally broadcast without a license. And so my wife, Erin Findley, and I have been broadcasting 1670AM for the past 7 years, with several long-standing shows from local artists.  Because of that radio work, we were contacted by Todd Urick from Common Frequency. He informed us of a one-time opportunity that was opening for small communities like ours across the country. A brand new classification of radio stations had been created with the Local Community Radio Act of 2010, and the broadcast licenses were free for nonprofits. These new radio stations are called LPFMs, meaning Low Power FM stations. They are capped at 100 watts, yielding about a 3-mile radius, and are required to be nonprofit, community-run radio stations. The window to apply opened in 2013, and we teamed up with the Denton Holiday Festival Association to acquire the broadcast license. Two years later, we were officially granted the rights to use KUZU 92.9FM, and are due to be broadcasting on the air and streaming online 24/7 July 2016.

TD: How do you think KUZU will effectively reach the diverse community that is in Denton?
PS: Hopefully with unique programming we can garner a larger audience in Denton and provide a chance for people to speak to those outside their personal realm. In this way, we can help our community grow roots that intertwine and provide a stronger foundation to build upon for the future. Engaging music from all genres, remote broadcasting at special events, author discussions, kids radio hour, student news, emergency broadcasts, political debates, food and drink shows, house show bootlegs, interviews, political debates, sound archiving, and science shows are just a few examples of what might be heard on KUZU

Sashenka Lopez

TD: As someone with radio experience, what do you hope to bring to the table with KUZU?
Sashenka Lopez:
I am currently dedicating time towards the organization and development of KUZU with a great team of people. I manage social media outreach, participate in discussions with board members and vote in the decision making process, organize KUZU events, represent KUZU at festivals, fundraise money, outreach to educators in the DISD, and intend to collaborate in the design and implementation of the Producer Training Program, Media Education Program, and KUZU Archive.

TD: How will KUZU's FM transmission going to be different from Fake Parts AM transmission?
SL: AM (or Amplitude Modulation) and FM (or Frequency Modulation) are ways of broadcasting radio signals. Both transmit the information in the form of electromagnetic waves. AM works by modulating (varying) the amplitude of the signal while the frequency remains constant. This differs from FM technology in which sound is encoded by varying the frequency of the wave and the amplitude is kept constant. AM waves work in the range of KHz while in FM waves work in MHz range. As a result, AM waves have a higher wavelength than FM waves. The first and most substantial benefit of FM is its ability to send out two channels of information at the same time with the use of advanced algorithms. This allows the station to broadcast left and right audio channels for full stereo sound.

TD: How do you think KUZU will effectively reach the diverse community that is in Denton?
SL: KUZU seeks to develop and nurture diversity. We believe that diversity stimulates creativity, promotes the exchange of ideas, and enriches community culture.

KUZU embraces all community members and does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, sex, color, creed, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression (including a transgender identity), primary language, political opinion, national or social origin, citizenship, economic status, or disability in any of its activities or operations.

We will foster an environment of inclusiveness. We are committed to providing a welcoming environment for all members of our board, members, and volunteers.  KUZU aspires to build a community which recognizes and values the inherent worth and dignity of every person; fosters tolerance, sensitivity, understanding, and mutual respect among its members.

Michael Munywoki

TD: What is your role on the KUZU board?
Michael Munywoki: My role on the KUZU board is to offer opinions and help however I can. We each have strengths and unique perspectives, which we hope keep us from being too one-sided in decision-making.

TD: What experience and expertise are you bringing to the table?
MM: I was born and raised in Denton, and I've spent 29 of my 35 years of life here. I lived in Brooklyn for five years and then moved back to Denton, which changed the way I view Denton - especially considering its recent boom.  I feel that these experiences shape my input to the KUZU board. Music has been my obsession since early on; however, I studied business for practical purposes. I believe having both points-of-view is one of the key assets (forgive me here) that I bring to the table.

TD: How do see this radio station growing to benefit the entire community?
MM: I think inviting feedback from the listening community will be key to the station's growth and success. The board can't get lazy and assume it knows what listeners want. Also, since the station's radius can't grow beyond its current expected limits, growth will have to be within the community, which will involve reaching more people. I hope to see KUZU getting involved with community events and striving to offer something unique and useful to listeners.

Kelley Pound

TD: As a former radio producer and personality, what are you most excited about KUZU bringing to the community?
Kelley Pound: I'm excited about hearing a wide variety of new voices on KUZU - authentic, untrained, impassioned voices sharing ideas, points of views, and music. I really look forward to hearing how the KUZU hosts grow into their craft, how they refine their process - or don't refine it at all and keep their stuff raw and gritty and honest. Not knowing what is coming up next whenever you tune into 92.9 is very exciting!!

TD: Why is radio important to you?
KP: Listening to the radio is a very emotional thing for me.  It's a largely solitary endeavor - I listen in the car or through headphones - so that listening style combined with the lack of visuals allows me to connect with what I'm hearing on a very emotional, active level that watching tv or a movie doesn't do. Whether it's music or information - there's a deeper, more profound connection to the radio experience.

TD: What is your role on the KUZU board?
KP: I'm a KUZU board member, supporter and liaison between KUZU and the Denton Holiday Festival Assoc., which is the named license holder.

Paul Slavens

TD: Are you going to be leaving Denton? Please say no.
Paul Slavens:Don’t believe anything you read on FB. Especially when its me posting. I am not going anywhere.

TD: What show block will you have and what will you bring to it?
PS:That has not been nailed down but I will probably grab a slot and play my favorite music

TD: What is your role on the KUZU board?
PS: I am there for perspective, having lived here and participated in the music and arts scene for several decades. My experience working for Public Radio in Dallas will hopefully be helpful in advising and overseeing programming. I help like all the board members, in coming up with creative ideas for all aspects of the endeavor and providing help in facilitating those ideas that are deemed worthwhile.

Julie McKendrick

TD: What is your role on the KUZU board?
Julie McKendrick: My role with KUZU is not really defined beyond membership as of yet, but I can say that I’m very active. I’ve hosted a few meetings at my home, and I’m pretty sure I have not missed one yet. I’m in constant contact with the other board members through social media and group texts. I take being a member of the board very seriously, and want to continue as long as I live in Denton.   

TD: What experience and expertise are you bringing to the table?
JK: I can’t say that I have expertise in one thing. I’m sort of like a jack-of-all-trades, master of none. I attribute this to learning though DIY communities. I started my involvement with these types of communities at the beginning of my teenage years in San Antonio, and then continued after my move to Denton. During this time, I was involved with various Noise/ Experimental music groups, which has helped my understanding of how to run nonprofit endeavors. Combined with my MFA in New Media Art and experience as an adjunct professor of Multimedia studies I have undoubtedly become a valuable asset to KUZU. I’ve done some graphic design work, video editing, met with business owners, integral in organizing events, networking, and some promotional (social media) stuff. Other than that I’ve also co-hosted a show on 1670AM called Fake Parts with Sashenka Lopez for three years.  

TD: How do see this radio station growing to benefit the entire community?
JK:When I think of how KUZU will grow and function in the future, I think about how it will bring communities together. Denton contains several diverse bubbles of communities, and I would like to see them become more interactive. KUZU is about unveiling the unknown, and connecting unlikely collaborators. This is, of course, my own vision for KUZU, and it’s a very hopeful one, but I think also very achievable.     

Ashley Bender

TD: As a professor, how do you see this radio station benefiting your students?
Ashley Bender: I've been thinking a lot about this. In fact, it's not just my love for radio (which I really do dig) that had me interested in KUZU. From the moment Peter started talking about the station, I started thinking about the ways that students in the area could benefit. I'm already thinking about new assignments that ask students to create content for radio programming--I'm a big fan of creative projects, and I'm always amazing by the work my students produce. Last semester in my Myth class, for example, two students wrote scripts for radio shows. How cool would it be for them to actually record these and share them? Some of my colleagues are just as interested. In fact, one colleague contacted me last weekend about having her students record op-eds they wrote for their first-year composition class, so we can share those. These will probably be the first student-generated content that we share on KUZU. And it's not just us English folks. I can see students in history classes, or physics, math, biology, music, art--so many different disciplines creating content based on the concepts and skills they are learning.

Furthermore, as a public forum, KUZU provides a way for students to share their work with the community. So often what we do in the classroom stays there. That's why a lot of students moan and groan about "what does this have to do with the real world, with what I want to do with my career, &c., &c." [side note: "real world" is a horrible phrase. It's all real, yo.] Sharing work with the public changes our engagement with the material and with our audience. It allows students to put into practice in a very meaningful way the knowledge and skills that they are learning. It enriches the learning experience and creates more lasting knowledge.

Being on the air would also put students in charge in a way that they aren't in classroom, except maybe when they give presentations or, occasionally, say, serve as a discussion leader. They're running the show. It's an empowering experience, to know that you've created something and that other people are tuning in, WANT to tune in. I think such engagement can help build students' confidence in their own intellectual abilities and can teach students the power of their own voices to shape their communities.

TD: How do you see this radio station growing to benefit the entire community?
AB: In some ways, this takes me back to the first question. In my KUZUviews interview, I say that I see KUZU as a place that can bring together students from across Denton, regardless of the grade level. And it can connect these students with the community. On a larger scale, this is exactly how I see KUZU benefitting the community: by bringing the community together. I think it's pretty easy to get stuck in our own little bubbles. I go to the same places all the time. Every couple of months, I hit the corner of Eagle and Carroll and think, "I haven't been this far south in ages." I love my friends, my Denton family. But I also know there's a lot more to Denton than my little corner of it. KUZU will benefit the Denton community by bringing together the diverse group of people who make up this town and who care about it.

TD: What is your role on the KUZU board?
I'm Secretary of the board. So I take a lot of notes.