North Texas Daily

New community radio station transmits Denton’s diversity to airwaves

New community radio station transmits Denton’s diversity to airwaves

Mateo Granados, host of KUZU's Meriwether Hour, plays local bands during his show. KUZU is Denton's newest radio station featuring local music, interviews, and talk radio. Sara Carpenter

New community radio station transmits Denton’s diversity to airwaves
September 02
23:08 2017

Although its broadcasts are recorded in a small building near the Square, Denton’s newest radio station delivers a large range of content inspired by the melting pot of the community.

KUZU 92.9 is a low power FM, nonprofit, non-commercial station that launched on July 22. The station provides a community-based alternative to larger stations that have turned away from local broadcasts in favor of nationally syndicated content. KUZU only covers a 3 mile radius, but it hopes to provide locals with a voice that can be felt throughout Denton.

“Part of our mission is educational, so we don’t want to be playing hits,” said Peter Salisbury, chairman of the board that runs KUZU. “We want to challenge people and challenge their ears. We want the community to express themselves but also to support the local scene.”

The station runs 24/7 and can be accessed with any internet streaming device or from one’s own radio as long as the listener is within range.

The station is for the community by the community, so anyone is qualified to be on the show by filling out a simple application provided on the website homepage. Salisbury said there are around 100 applications from people who expressed interest in volunteering or producing a show that have not yet been reviewed.

KUZU 92.9 is Denton’s newest radio station featuring local music, interviews and talk radio. Sara Carpenter

Despite its humble resources, KUZU has over 40 different shows playing at various time slots during the day. Since all of the hosts are volunteers, the slots are catered to the hosts’ availabilities. Many of the hosts work regular 9-to-5 jobs, which is why most of the shows are live during the evenings.

The style of the content ranges from 1950s rockabilly and early techno to hip-hop and experimental avant-garde. Many of the shows aim to give local bands exposure, interview artists and review band discography.

Each host provides highly-vetted and curated content for listeners to enjoy. Hours of work goes into creating each set. Some even go as far as writing out their playlists by hand and posting them on social platforms for the community to access.

“You can tell that each playlist is curated with a lot of love and that the people behind them have a lot of passion for sharing,” said Sarah Ruth Alexander, host of “Tiger D” on KUZU.

While most of the hosts view the process of being on air and producing their shows as an enjoyable experience and privilege, several did not anticipate how difficult it would be to comply with Federal Communications Commission regulations. A slip-up in that regard could bring hefty fines that could jeopardize the station’s existence.

“Any one of our hosts could potentially bring [the station] down,” Salisbury said. “We’re working on a shoestring budget. We are trying to make our rent every month, so it’s a lot of responsibility.”

The content is not limited to just music and artist interviews, but is also fluid to any sounds that might move or inspire the listener. During the “Tiger D” set, Alexander can sometimes be found playing live soundbites of her cat purring to “calm listeners.”

Another show called “Hot Rod Hour,” hosted by Sean Starr, features predominantly rockabilly music that was played and celebrated during a time in history where hot rods were being raced and worked on. It also educates listeners about local vintage car events and the general history of that culture.

Embracing and giving back to the community is at the core of the station’s essence. Aside from exposing listeners to sounds that they would have otherwise never heard before, KUZU also hopes to further embrace the community by informing the public and acting as a mode of education.

In the future, the station would like to have more talk shows featuring segments focusing on local government concerns, senior citizens and even a show hosted by children.

A city rich in music and culture now has a community radio station to represent it, and the station hopes to continue to be a platform that provides a voice for Denton.

“It’s imperative that community radio exists,” said Lily Taylor, host of “Bandwidth TX” on KUZU. “It’s something that’s been missing and that we have been needing.”

Featured Image: Mateo Granados, host of KUZU’s “Meriwether Hour,” plays local bands during his show. KUZU is Denton’s newest radio station featuring local music, interviews and talk radio. Sara Carpenter

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Mazie McDonald

Mazie McDonald

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