On Nov. 15 community radio station KRCL 90.9 FM will invite Utahns to tour its halls, snack and record a station id as part of its first-ever open house.
The station’s leadership decided to hold the event—scheduled to coincide with its annual food drive—in the wake of a widely successful spring pledge drive, said KRCL spokesperson Richard Jewkes.
“We had a lot of new members call in, so we thought it might be fun for them to come by station and see it,” he said.
According to station manager Donna Land Maldonado, forty-two percent of the listeners who donated this spring were first-time subscribers.
The open house is also being held to allow listeners to meet some new faces at the station, Jewkes added. From its founding in 1979 until this May, KRCL featured a roster of all-volunteer DJs, most of whom had what Jewkes describes as “a one or two hour block for the entire week” and more often than not “their own listening audience.”
In May, KRCL switched to a staff consisting of paid and volunteer hosts. The paid staff rules the airwaves from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on weekdays and the volunteers take over in the evenings and on weekends.
Jewkes said the station made these broadcasting changes in order to remain competitive and viable among Utah’s many radio stations.
“We’re trying to maintain the unique and independent radio station flavor we’ve had in the past and then add to it a little more consistent programming during day time hours so we can build our audience,” he said. “It seems to be working.”
At the open house, new and long-time subscribers, as well as the general public, can tour the station and its studios, meet KRCL staff and DJs, munch on some light refreshments and even record station ids. Played during commercial breaks, these ids feature an individual stating her name followed by the phrase: “and you are listening to KRCL 90.9 FM—all the radio you need!”
KRCL staff recorded several such ids at this year’s Utah Arts Festival. They were so popular, said Jewkes, that KRCL decided to record more during the open house.
Along with its diverse programming in eight different languages, KRCL also features several programs of interest to gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people. The weekly call-in progressive talk show “RadioActive” regularly interviews queer people whom producer (and QSaltLake columnist) Troy Williams describes as “pushing the envelope, challenging the status quo and expanding our understanding of the possibilities of queer liberation.”
KRCL is also home to Sister Dottie S. Dixon, an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who has a gay son. Sister Dottie recounts her (always humorous) misadventures in Mormon and gay culture in three minute shorts that air Fridays at 3:00 p.m. and Saturdays at 10:00 a.m.
In the 1980s, KRCL was also home of the long-running and groundbreaking show “Concerning Gays and Lesbians.”
“The staff, the board and the volunteers consider the LGBT community an integral part of our mission to ‘strengthen our community through diverse, independent, and progressive public affairs and music programming,’ said Williams.
The open house will also include the giveaway of a new Toyota Yaris sponsored by Ensign Toyota of Logan and Free Yr Radio, a year-long campaign supporting independent radio created by Yaris and Urban Outfitters. Listener Kate Mortensen of Hyrum, Utah won the car during a drawing held last month. She will receive the keys to the fuel-efficient vehicle between 10:00 a.m. and noon.
Station visitors are asked to bring donations of nonperishable food items, which will be given to the Utah Food Bank. Like many food banks around the country, the Utah Food Bank is currently facing a shortage in donations and an increase in demand, thanks in part to the current troubled economy.
The open house will be held Nov. 15 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at KRCL’s studio on 1971 W Temple. For more information visit krcl.org.