It has been 50 years since “Watson! Come here! I need a quarter!” could be heard over 880 AM in Davis. This sentence, broadcast from the now defunct Beckett Hall dorms, marked the humble beginning of what is now KDVS 90.3 FM.
Now, many watts later, KDVS is "celebrating 50 years of homegrown radio" during the station's annual fundraiser. You can listen to the fundraiser on the air and online from Monday through Sunday, April 21-27.
DJs will divert from their normal programming to ask the community to support the station. Volunteers will be answering phones 24 hours a day, for 168 consecutive hours, to take pledges — call (530) 754-KDVS or donate online.
The station also will host a series of concerts, DJ nights and other events in Davis and Sacramento, as part of the fundraising effort.
Gifts are available — from a selection that includes T-shirts, music packages, gift certificates and tote bags — for donations of specified amounts.
KDVS hosts a wide variety of music genres, from Hawaiian, folk and modern composition, to metal, punk and hip-hop. KDVS is also home to local news, public affairs and UC Davis sports broadcasts.
Volunteers and a small student staff run KDVS, and students and community members host the shows. To be a host, all you need to do is learn the basics of radio, volunteer at the station, and dedicate your show to education through music, public affairs and news.
A station spokesman said this year’s fundraiser is especially important because KDVS faces increased operating costs due to a recent transmission equipment upgrade and relocation.
“Recent crowding in the FM spectrum caused interference that threatened KDVS’ ability to broadcast from Davis to the wider Sacramento area without an upgraded signal and the move to a taller tower,” said Neil Ruud, former general manager.
So now the station is renting space on a tower at the Yolo County Landfill, at 13,000 watts (up from 9,200), allowing KDVS to preserve its broadcast area and regain some lost markets as well. Once again, KDVS broadcasts a clear signal to midtown Sacramento, Vacaville and Fairfield.
In an era of increasing media consolidation, KDVS is a powerful resource for the Sacramento area community and for local businesses.
“KDVS’ affordable underwriting is an essential resource for small businesses to reach a broader audience,” said Taranbir Chowdhury, owner of Raja’s Tandoor restaurant. “KDVS gives the local community a megaphone usually only accessible to larger, wealthier entities.”
The fundraiser starts just after midnight Sunday, April 20, and continues until midnight Sunday, April 27).