As some of our regular listeners may have guessed, the station has been down a week now, and I’ve giving KBFR a lot of thought.
We shut down on Friday, August 6th, locking the van up and wiping the schedule clean. No DJ’s, no shows, just airing a play list created and running on our DJ Computer.
The reasons for this were varied, from an extreme overuse of profanity by our DJ’s (who than claimed it was free speech and if people didn’t like it they could just turn the dial) and a general disrespect for the station itself to several of our captains (the folks who do much of the work to keep things going) quitting in frustration and disgust at the lack of support on the part of many of the DJ’s. We just got too big. 45 DJ’s in and out of the van all week long having a revolving party can be fun, but it leaves one hell of a mess to clean up and it’s not really giving back to the community we profess to serve.
The question I had to answer was: Is this worth it in it's current form? Should I shut it down or should I restart it?
After a lot of reflection and talking to many people (including getting feedback from many of our loyal listeners) I believe hitting restart is the way to go. Restart means just that though. We're going to start from scratch. A core group of us (a Captain's Council) will, over a period of months, reconstitute KBFR from scratch. We'll be inviting back many of the existing folks that were with KBFR before and understand what Free Radio is about, and we'll be bringing in new folks.
Our goal is to fashion a more community aware station that's primary purpose is to build a platform that creates a real voice for the local community. A group of people that takes it's responsibility to it's listeners seriously and works at producing programming that's interesting, informative, entertaining and relevant.
We'll be focusing on playing new and underplayed artists, local artists and uncommonly heard popular artist’s music. And we'll focus on well known genres of music as well as little and unknown genre's, opening peoples ears, and hopefully their minds, to new sounds and new ways of thinking about the world those sounds can bring.
We'll also focus on creating original programming on wide range of subjects, tapping the rich resources of interesting people that live in Boulder. This will happen by talking to and creating shows about people, their ideas and their activities. From university professors at CU and the Thursday Night Cruisers (a 'gang' of 300+ folks who ride their bikes around Boulder once a week in the summer in a moving party) and interviews with local hot spots, music venues, bars and restaurant owners and their patrons to the alternative health community, the traditional and non traditional spiritual, political and environmental movements and the rich group of individuals and organizations based in Boulder that have something interesting to say.
We'll also focus on reporting local news and producing local opinion pieces on things that effect our community. From reporting on the city council meeting going's on and how they manage Boulder's resources and activities at the University of Colorado to the deep, rich music, art's and literature community's ongoing shows, displays and releases of new creative works.
And we’ll produce our own shows about a range of subjects from politics to sex, comedy to the seemingly nonsensical, and we expect some interesting DJ personalities to emerge who do shows that are just plain fun to listen to, for no other reason than they are just plain fun to listen to.
We’ll continue to have bands and artists in the studio to perform live in our Studio Free venue, helping them to get their music heard, and we’ll continue to produce regular CD’s from these Studio Free sessions.
We’ll also continue holding regular benefit shows geared to raising money for improvements for our operation and equipment and to help others expand the Free Radio movement.
In addition, we’ll be helping in the promotion of events all year long with our ‘KBFR Presents’ efforts (from an upcoming ‘all girl bands’ show at Trilogy in September to a comedy show sometime in the next few months). We’ll work with local venues and local promoters to bring great music and great entertainment to the local Boulder scene.
KBFR has been having fun and in it's own self centered way, but it's time we, as a group, really think about what we're doing as a whole and how we're going to use KBFR in ways that enrich the local community. We want to bring local news, views opinion, culture, knowledge, music and arts to the community using the incredibly powerful medium of Low Power FM and Underground Radio.
And we’ll continue to have fun, and, hopefully, provide something fun and interesting for you to listen to. We know that radio is one of the most intimate of media’s, where you invite someone into your home, your car, your bedroom, and you listen, connecting with a voice that’s from the ether, but seems very close.
And lastly, in case this all sounds oh so idealistic, we will never take ourselves too seriously. Because, in the end, if it’s not fun, why do it?
If you’re interested in helping, I’d love to hear from you.