Within the age of Sirius XM and Spotify, maintaining any radio station going for 15 years is an accomplishment.
If the station in query is a nonprofit group that performs little in the best way of right this moment’s well-liked music and makes use of volunteer DJs, it’s virtually a miracle.
“I imagine in what we’re doing,” says KWSS DJ Jay Cairo. “If we didn’t do it, who else would do it?”
KWSS, which broadcasts on 93.9 FM, hit the metro Phoenix airwaves in January 2005. Frank Magarelli, a longtime radio man and audio engineer, based and owns the station, which has retained its identical format since its inception. He used the decision letters of a defunct station he used to hearken to when he lived within the Bay Space in northern California.
Essentially, KWSS performs various rock, but it surely has an area focus unmatched within the metro Phoenix market
“Business stations don’t care about the local people and the native bands. In the event that they do, it’s to a really small extent, as a result of their company surroundings doesn’t cater to that,” says Cairo, who hosts the afternoon drive present and has been with the station since 2017. “We’re totally different from different radio stations within the Valley in that we play the native bands, we play the nationwide bands, we play the worldwide bands — we play all of it. You by no means know what we’re going to play subsequent.”
The KWSS sales space attracts guests at a group occasion.
Like every small enterprise or nonprofit group, KWSS has had a difficult yr amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Which makes this yr’s iteration of the annual pledge drive essential to the station’s monetary well being.
In a technique, Dani Cutler says, the pandemic made the station’s mission extra very important than ever, and listening to the radio is one pastime that didn’t disappear within the wake of the virus
“We’re nonetheless capable of assist [local artists] by enjoying their music, and the listeners love the native scene. They need to hear from these native bands,” says Cutler, who has been with the station for 13 of its 15 years; she hosts its morning and noontime reveals. “In order that half really kicked up a notch, as a result of we had been in a very distinctive place to have the ability to proceed to give attention to these bands and never let our listeners overlook about them. And we really feel so fortunate that we’re ready to try this.”
However the station has felt the monetary crunch this yr, identical as, nicely, just about everybody.
“There’s a whole lot of sponsorships that went away, and with the ability to promote native reveals within the Valley went away, so a whole lot of our funding since March has dropped significantly. I’m certain everybody who will learn this who’s an impartial artist or a small enterprise can be nodding their head. We’ve all felt it,” Cutler says. “We’ve misplaced some income from it, in order that’s why this fall pledge drive might be extra necessary than every other one, as a result of we need to nonetheless be capable of assist this group.”
The pledge drive began on November 16 and runs by way of November 22. Alongside the best way, there can be particular segments on the radio, giveaways, and different bonuses, culminating in a live performance of native acts that can be livestreamed from Final Exit Dwell in central Phoenix on Friday, November 20.
“What we usually do is towards the tip of pledge drive week is have an enormous present at an area venue and pack the place and have native bands play, and clearly — thanks, pandemic — we will’t do this this yr,” Cutler says.
The repair was to have a closed present with social distancing protocols in place.
“I’m being super-hyper-safe about all the pieces. Regardless that nobody’s going to be there, I’m nonetheless like, ‘OK, everybody has to deliver their very own tools, everybody has to put on a masks once they’re not on stage.’ I simply need to be as aware as attainable of everyone, as a result of everyone’s bought totally different ranges of what they need to be round.”
The lineup is: 6:30 to 7 p.m., The Frequency Precept; eight to eight:30, Sophie Dorsten, 9:30 to 10, Love Like Fiction; and 11:00 to 11:30, Jane N’ The Jungle. Viewers could make donations on behalf of the acts, and the one who brings in probably the most donations can have their music performed as soon as a day on KWSS for the complete month of December.
Along with the stay music lineup, KWSS DJs will broadcast stay from the venue’s inexperienced room.
“And we’re going to have some enjoyable with it — do some giveaways all through the evening,” Cutler says. “After which after all, beg everybody for cash so we will keep on the air.”
Cairo sees a whole lot of profit to listeners and native companies supporting the station.
“It presents them an opportunity to be a part of one thing that’s greater than all of us. We’re independently owned and operated, so we give a voice to a whole lot of the native bands that may’t get airplay anyplace else. … Again within the day, Beef Vegan was the morning present man, and his campaign for the native artists led to larger issues for a band like KONGOS.
“The longer we’re capable of do what we do, the extra success that bands from this space may discover nationally,” he continues. “So if we will hold that going and have that bridge for native artists to have that success, that’s a giant push for us and a giant factor that sort of helps us hold going.”
The aim for this yr’s pledge drive is $3,000, down from $5,000 or $6,000 in a non-pandemic yr.
“However we’ll take $5,000 or $6,000 — no points there,” Cutler says.
Listeners can develop into a Patreon subscriber (like Cairo is), or they will make a one-time donation by way of the PayPal button on the station’s web site. There are sponsorship ranges accessible for small companies as nicely, and for listeners and companies, all the pieces is tax-deductible.
Cutler hopes that listeners see the worth in donating to the station.
“I really feel like we’re nonetheless super-important. We hold individuals within the know of what’s happening. Artists are nonetheless creating, so we’re ensuring that we let individuals know that there’s not an absence of latest music coming from these artists. They’re nonetheless there. When all the pieces does get into one thing that’s extra regular the place we could be collectively once more, I need it to really feel like we haven’t misplaced that a lot,” she says.
Cairo says, “We’re honored that folks wish to hearken to us, and I do know that I’m on daily basis once I cease and assume that there really are individuals who take pleasure in what we do and chortle at what we are saying. Something we will do to attempt to hold issues going is necessary.”
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