Boonville Fairgrounds, Saturday, Oct. 11, 2-7pm.
Turning 25 years old is a big deal for a community radio station created by a band of dreamers in the Anderson Valley, operating on a shoestring, and broadcasting 24 hours a day – music, news and public affairs, both local and national — to nearly all parts of far-flung Mendocino County.
To celebrate this milestone, KZYX, Mendocino County Public Radio — 90.7, 91.5, and 88.1 FM — will throw a 25th Birthday Bash & Variety Show for itself Oct. 11, 2 to 7 p.m. at the Boonville Fairgrounds.
The emcee of the show will be KZYX funny man W. Dan of The Treehouse program. The entertainment line-up includes: folk trio Just Enough; Hui Arago Hawaiian music and dancers; performance artist Sherry Glaser; Lili Lobo de Albuquerque & Friends; Fred Wooley & Friends; drummer Liz Helenchild & Friends; Ragtime Rick & Friends; classical musicians Bill Taylor & Jaye Allison Moscariello; Colin Harris, and Aline Jalfim’s Latin music and dancing.
To honor the station’s founders and long-time supporters, American roots music disc jockey Jimmy Humble will tell some tales of the station’s early days.
“This is a milestone in the life of a community institution that has seen management, staff and board change hands over and over,” said KZYX General Manager John Coate. “And through fat times and lean the station continues. It is a living testimony to community collaboration.”
A specialty bar featuring microbrews from five local beer makers as well as fine California wines will be hosted by W. Dan’s sidekick, Loretta Houck, a former KZYX staffer. Delish of Willits will offer a picnic plate. Birthday cake from Harvest Market will top off the meal.
A 50/50 cash raffle means the winner splits the raffle ticket proceeds with KZYX.
Long-time KZYX supporter and former board member Robert Crawford remembers how profoundly KZYX changed his life when it hit the airwaves in 1989. He was living with his family “on a dry hilltop” west of Willits trying to build a garden and a life.
“Having KZYX was a cultural shift,” Crawford said. “It changed everything. We went from a failed logging community to a more sophisticated form of humanity. It was a great step forward for the entire county.”
Crawford, who doesn’t have a TV, said he still listens to the station all day long. “I don’t miss anything. I don’t like every program, but I always listen. I don’t own a TV.”
Ft. Bragg City Councilmember Meg Courtney, co-coordinator of the birthday bash and a member of the station’s board, credits KZYX’s unique programming for bringing a new addition to her household.
“I just got a goldfish named Leonard for my fish tank because I listen to the Trading Time show,” Courtney said. “Where else can you find special treasures like Leonard?”
Courtney said she looks forward to the music at the bash and the chance to honor volunteers, programmers, staff and listeners who have kept the station alive over the years. “If it weren’t for them we would not have our community radio—much less get to the ripe old age of 25. If you love the station, you’ll have a blast at this party.”
KZYX is a listener-supported community radio station based in Philo, with satellite studios in Ft. Bragg and Willits.
Admission to the KZYX 25th Birthday Bash & Variety Show is $5. The event will be held, rain or shine, at the Boonville Fairgrounds, Sat., Oct. 11, 2 to 7 p.m. If raining, the show will be in Apple Hall. Food plates are $10; microbrews and wine are $5. For more information, or to volunteer, call the station at 895-2324.
(Jane Futcher is co-coordinator of the KZYX 25th Birthday Bash & Variety Show and a member of the KZYX board of directors.)