Down to the Wire: KDRT Needs Your Support!

Twenty years of writing about media consolidation has taught me to never take something you value for granted. Even community institutions can disappear if they are not adequately supported.

I do feel like a broken record right now, but I never shy at putting it all on the line for Davis Media Access (DMA).  As of this writing, we are two weeks away from our fiscal year end, and still $3,000 away from our fund raising goal. We usually hit this funding goal, but it’s been a struggle this year, and I’m scratching my head a bit.

Like many non-profits, Davis Media Access has varied funding streams. We have service contracts, grants, and underwriting; we offer workshops and paid production services, and we fund raise. Our annual spring funding appeal supports KDRT and our youth media programs. We offer much gratitude to all those who have generously contributed, and you can see that list here.

KDRT offers a wide range of music and pubic affairs, broadcast training, volunteer opportunities, and carefully curated syndicated shows. It takes just under $25,000 each year to pay the licenses, fees and bills that help KDRT’s all-volunteer programming staff bring you their best work. The balance of our fund raising supports a little of our staff time to mentor youth through our various programs.

I believe that KDRT builds community connections, and I also believe in my heart we’ll make our goal. But right now we need to hear from you that the work DMA does is at least as important as a cup of coffee, a lunch, a dinner…. We can’t do this without you!  Please donate today.

Da Vinci Students Explore Radiolab-Style Production

At Da Vinci Charter High School in Davis, CA, Scott Stephen Bell's 10th-grade students were asked to create a Radiolab-style podcast suitable for radio replay, as part of their study of WWII. They were asked to incorporate the following questions into their project: what is the cost of war?  How can a radio documentary covering the major people, events, and concepts of World War II provide perspective on issues that the world faces today? And, are you able to relate to the listener and explain why this topic is important and how it impacts our world today?

The students' finished documentaries were reviewed first by their peers, and then by a panel of KDRT programmers and Davis Media Access staff. Programs were ranked in order and the top five segments are being aired on local radio station KDRT 95.7 FM and worldwide at Air dates and times are May 28 at 2pm, May 29 at 8am and May 30 at 4pm. DMA and KDRT are pleased to partner with Da Vinci teachers and students in the exploration of making history come alive via the medium of radio.

Upcoming Events and Workshops

Attend a General Orientation

Looking for something to do this summer? Come learn about community media and get involved. The first step is easy. Just come to orientation Wednesday, June 14 at 6:30 pm

Friday Nights with FDyC at DMA

DMA is partnering with FDyC to sponsor Teen Media Nights here at the media center, beginning April 21. Open to youth aged 12-19, these Friday-night sessions provide mentoring and instruction in video production, DJ’ing, music production, mixing and scratching, and more.

In 2014 Frankie Woods founded a youth program in Davis, California called FDYC (Future Development Youth Center) to mentor under-served youth in the community that needed guidance, direction, focus and purpose. With Frankie's twenty-year background in music production, DJing and videography, and a passion for mentoring youth, he took it upon himself to marry his experience with his desire to give back, and thus the FDYC program was born. Frankie is also a part-time DMA production staffer, and this partnership developed out of our shared commitment to youth media. Email for info and to register.

C’mon Baby, Do the Localism with Me ... Or, Why Community Media is So Danged Important

I know the news is crazy—and who can keep up? — but I share this tidbit with you to underscore why locally originated and operated media is so incredibly important.

Last week, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) formally released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to eliminate the Main Studio Rule. The rule requires each AM, FM and television broadcast station to have a main studio in or near its local community. The notice proposes to eliminate the requirement that the main studio have full-time management and staff present during normal business hours, and the requirement that it be able to originate programming. This is part of a suite of proposed rulemaking by FCC Chair Ajit Pai designed to make life easier for big corporate telecom companies.

Simply put, in a media landscape that is already automated and homogenized, this ruling further releases commercial broadcasters from any public interest obligations in the communities they “serve.” Everything will be done online. If your community has an emergency, good luck getting information through these outlets.

Please, just for a moment, contrast this scenario with what happens all year long at KDRT. Part of a busy and vibrant community media center, KDRT boasts programmers of all ages, playing what they want; highlights local voices, nonprofits and events; and helps local musicians develop audience. KDRT’s volunteers participate in this community, from annual events such as Celebrate Davis, Street Food Rodeo, and Davis Music Festival, to ongoing commitments like Thursday Live! at Davis Odd Fellows, and Second Friday Art Abouts  at Armadillo Music.

Now is the time: KDRT is at risk

I’m proud that we manage KDRT on about $25,000 per year. Most of KDRT’s capital is in its awesome volunteers, which lets us run on this tiny budget. DMA provides a lot of administrative support and a home for the radio station, but its expenses are real: licensing agreements, streaming fees, insurance, rent, utilities.

Here’s the reality: right now, KDRT is at risk. We've been fund raising since March, we are very grateful to our donors this year, AND we still need to raise $6,000 more to meet our $25k goal before June 30. It's hard going this year, but one look at the news I’ve shared underscores the importance of keeping our local institutions strong. And this fund raising is the difference between our community having these services, and not having them. Every year, it's that simple.

For everyone who has ever told me they love Davis Media Access and KDRT 95.7FM now's the time to add your voice in support of solid, vibrant community media, featuring diverse voices in Davis and beyond. $5 or $50 or $500, it matters not, but please add your name to the list of folks who stand on the side of local media, free from corporate interests. We can’t do this work without you.

Yours in community,

Autumn Labbe-Renault

Executive Director

PS: Mina Alali is a former KDRT DJ. We congratulate her on her success!

Youth media opportunities abound at DMA

Originally published in The Davis Enterprise on May 5, 2017 In its 2015 study “Teens, Social Media & Technology Overview 2015,” the Pew Research Center found that 24 percent of teens go online “almost constantly,” facilitated by the widespread availability of smartphones. I’ve been around kids and technology since before smartphones were a thing, and I’m a mom of three teens. I’d be mighty surprised if those numbers haven’t climbed dramatically in the past two years.

KDRT Highlights

KDRT is a small station that makes so much possible. At the end of 2016, we raised money to boost the signal of KDRT by purchasing a new antenna. We're waiting...and waiting...for the rains to stop, and getting ready to do the engineering for the project. Target installation date is early summer, and we'll keep you posted!

Once again KDRT will be in the Picnic Day Parade. Last year we were a walking group, but this year we'll be hauling a trailer with a live band.  It's a lot of fun, so come out and join the fun and give us a wave.  This year's theme is "Growing Together" and KDRT is where the grassroots grow, so we'll fit right in.  The parade is this coming Saturday, April 22 at 10 a.m.

Jesse Deere, longtime programmer of Dead Wax, will be retiring from the show soon.  Dead Wax is a vinyl-centric exploration of Americana, from classic country to roots rock and blues.  Fellow KDRT volunteers and programmers hope to take over in rotating shifts to keep the show going.

Shawn Witt, AKA Rainbow has moved his radio show, Music Eclectica, from Tuesdays at 10 a.m. to Fridays  at 10 a.m.  The program explores every genre of music in a unlimited fashion.

Sam Hawk's Independent and Local, which focuses on local music, has also moved to Fridays at 11 a.m. following Shawn's show.

Bill Wagman hosted Austin, Texas singer-songwriter Amilia K. Spicer on Live DiRT at the KDRT studio, Friday March 31. Spicer has been described as “a formidable singer, songwriter and pianist with a voice that ranges from soaring to smoky…possessing a keen observational lyricism and an innate talent for accessible melodies.”

Youth Media

Summer Youth Media Workshops

Building community through media is what we do at Davis Media Access (DMA), and we make sure that starts with some of the younger members of our community. DMA has decades of experience teaching youth the basics of media production. These exciting classes teach production skills in areas such as camera and lighting, storyboarding and script development, sound, and stop-motion animation. DMA builds into all its curriculum critically needed media literacy training, and our workshops take place in the only HD studio in town. Participants get hands-on experience with quality equipment, work collaboratively, and share their work at the completion of the camp. Classes are taught by DMA staff and frequently assisted by students from past workshops.

Please note enrollment deadline of June 12, 2017. Classes do fill, and early registration is encouraged. Camps are limited to kids aged 9-13. Each camp is $175 per child.

Media Production Workshops

In the Media Production Workshop, participants learn how to produce a program in DMA's television studio, including storyboarding, operating cameras and sound equipment, and media literacy training. Students also work with HD field cameras, and get an introduction to the radio booth at KDRT (link is external) 95.7 FM, DMA's low-power community radio station. Week ends with a screening of student work & a pizza party.

Stop-Motion Animation Workshops

During Animation Workshops, participants will learn how to plan and storyboard an animation, record dialogue and effects, and light and create stop-motion animations, as well as experiment with 2D-animation and watch examples of various styles for inspiration.  Past participants have animated everything from modeling clay to snack foods!

Save the Date

“Closing the Palms Playhouse - The End of an Era in Davis,” a documentary by Davis filmmaker Alvin Remmers, makes its world premier on Sunday, June 4, 2017 at the Veterans Memorial Theatre in Davis.

The film chronicles the venue’s 28-year history in Davis, features firsthand and archival footage, interviews with Palms founder Linda McDonagh, original Bad Actors members, long-time manager Dave Fleming, musicians who appeared on its legendary stage, and recollection and stories from many Valley patrons. The film also chronicles the last two months of the Palms' existence - filmed in July and August of 2002 - in musical performances from a star-studded lineup, and interviews capturing the raw emotions of the performers and patrons as the clock ticks down on the old barn. Performances filmed on the Palms stage during the last two months are included in the documentary. Interviews with Utah Phillips, Dave Alvin, Mumbo Gumbo, Golden Bough, Steve Seskin, and more are featured.

Please Support DMA’s Community Building Work

How do you get community members dialoguing with each other?

In Davis, you typically organize a forum or event, and—as it’s said—they will come. But how do you continue that dialog, involving others who weren’t able to attend?

That’s one of the truly powerful things about community media such as Davis Media Access (DMA). DMA frequently records community town halls, events and other forums, capturing that content and making it widely available via cable TV, radio, online archives, and social media. I describe this aspect of DMA’s work as documenting our collective history.

There are numerous other ways we do that, too, whether it’s putting cameras into the hands of middle school kids, bringing elected officials into the studio, or hosting a wide range of experts, pundits, activists, and performers. Together, all this local content informs, calls to action, and helps tell the story of a community that is engaged and cares.

Please support DMA during our annual fundraiser.

I believe that DMA’s work is central to an informed, connected community. Each spring, we ask our community to confirm that by pledging their support of our mission and services. We’ve raised about $14,000 of our $25,000 goal, with less than a month to go. These funds keep KDRT on the air, and help support our work on youth media and local elections. Thank you for your support not only of DMA, but of community engagement and cohesiveness in a time of unprecedented division. Please visit to support our work, and join our list of supporters.

Autumn Labbe-Renault, Executive Director

Save the Date

March Orientation: DMA offers a free orientation to its programs and services each month. This next general orientation will take place March 15th from 6:30-8 p.m. at our media center, 1623 Fifth Street in Davis. Topics covered will include an overview of DMA’s services; information about internships, and training and volunteer opportunities available through DMA.  If you've been thinking of getting involved with DMA, this is your first step.  A reservation is appreciated and helps us contact you should we have to reschedule, but drop-ins are welcome.

Picnic Day: KDRT volunteers will once again march in the annual Picnic Day Parade held at UC Davis. This year’s event, themed “Growing Together,” takes place April 22, 2017.  We had a great time last year and will go even bigger this year with our own float.

Film Premiere: We are so pleased to announce the premiere of the long-awaited film, “Closing the Palms Playhouse: The End of Era in Davis” will take place on Sunday, June 4, 2017. The event will be part of Davis’ Centennial Celebration, and also be a benefit for DMA! Filmmaker Alvin Remmers has utilized equipment and services through DMA for many years as he’s worked on his opus, which chronicles the closing of the original Palms Playhouse in South Davis. The film features interviews with and archival footage of many musicians, as well as those involved in the Davis art and music scene “back in the day.” We can’t wait!