Radio Active

I know, I know. You gave to keep the Bookstore open, you gave to keep the Pageant open, and here comes another community jewel, KZFR, asking for you help. Why should you keep making these contributions? What’s really in it for you?

Short answer: A lot.

Longer and more satisfying answer: not only living in a town where these sorts of culturally defining touchpoints exist, but being personally connected to them. The term “community” itself is almost a cliche at this point, repeated so often that it ceases to lose real meaning. But at the very core of any really good town, there is a sense of being in it together and having the opportunity to contribute to the form it takes.

I’ve lived in cities like San Francisco and Santa Rosa at different points in my life, and while there are a lot of cool things about those places, there really isn’t a sense of community. Certain neighborhoods have more character than others, but very few people know (or even want to know) their neighbors. The combined air of commercialism and isolation in the sea of people can leave you feeling completely swept up in someone else’s world, desperate to survive with your values intact. it’s a feeling of powerlessness, and cold (or maybe that part was just the weather down there).

Power as a metaphor is energizing to the life of the individual, and power as a literal force is energizing to something like, oh… the KZFR radio tower. Community radio means that anyone can decide what they want to contribute to the conversation or the soundtrack of their neighborhood, and something besides the same tired “classic” rock tunes the other stations have been playing for the past 30 years can be heard by anyone with a radio.

In all honesty, I don’t listen to much radio. When I do, it’s KZFR, but even then it’s usually only while I’m driving or when a friend’s band is being featured. At home or work I tend to use Pandora (which I do pay for, because good, commercial free radio is worth paying for). But I value the presence of a thing like this existing extremely highly. It’s part of what makes Chico great. It’s part of what makes Chico more united than so many other places. And unlike Pandora, when you make a contribution to their Power To The Tower campaign (indiegogo. com/kzfr) they make a really big deal about it and give you stuff.

Hey, speaking of Pandora—I heard a rumor that ASCAP (the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) has agents about town, and is threatening local businesses with lawsuits for streaming music where customers can hear. Just a heads up: if they sue you they’ll probably win, so you may want to go radio silent, or sign up for Pandora for Businesses to get the royalty police off your back.

Managing Editor for Synthesis Weekly. Amy likes to make clothes, plant flowers, and chase butterflies.