autumn's blog

Latest column highlights election coverage

Singing some praises, then having some sung

By Autumn Labbe-Renault, Executive Director

This column was originally published May 5, 2022 in The Davis Enterprise

This election season marked the second one in which Davis Media Access (DMA) has recorded candidate statements virtually. The pandemic left us without access to the community television studio and teleprompter at our Fifth Street facility, and was in some ways probably more challenging for candidates, although it did eliminate the travel time for some!

Before I go any further, let me heap some praise on DMA’s Studio Manager, Diane Dedoshka. A longtime, part-time staff member, she’s the reason we’ve been able to funnel resources into making sure that every candidate running a contested race in Yolo County has the same opportunity to get the word out about their campaign. A pioneer in local broadcast TV, Diane broke the glass ceiling for female directors back when she worked for KXTV, and we’ve been beyond fortunate she’s called DMA her work home for many years.

Soup’s On Success for DMA

When Yolo County Supervisor Don Saylor first approached me about designating Davis Media Access (DMA) as the beneficiary of the final Soup’s On fundraiser before he retires, I was gobsmacked. I’d volunteered at many Soup’s On events in the past and often wondered, what would we need to do be at that level?

If there is a gift from the pandemic for DMA, I believe it’s that we were the right organization with the right set of skills at the right time. During this crisis, DMA worked overtime to connect our communities virtually when we couldn’t do so in person.

Since 2004, there have been 17 Soup's On gatherings, over 6,000 soup eaters, hundreds of sponsors and donors, plus immeasurable awareness and more than $400,000 raised for local nonprofits. It’s been an amazing gift to nonprofits and the community at large.

After all was tallied, the April 21 event raised $62,000 for our community-based media and technology center. This money will help us bridge the gap brought about by increased staffing needs and operational/technology costs during the pandemic, coupled with loss of event income and other opportunities. We are most grateful.

Supervisor Saylor said, “DMA has done so much to amplify local voices, share information, and connect the people of our community for many years. Over the last two-plus years of pandemic-living, DMA has helped us all to pivot our communication models, stay informed, and learn new ways of doing things.

Davis Poet Laureate featured 'In the Studio'

Tim Gaffaney hosts Davis Poet Laureate Julia B. Levine. She read two of her poems and talked about the context in which they were written. She discussed how she came to writing poetry, how she has enjoyed her role at the poet laureate and her plans for Davis, including a contest.

For more info: sites.google.com/view/juliablevine

Recorded: 1/17/22

ClipDart offers Day of Duty

Meet Kyle Parker, the founder and CEO of ClipDart, and a recent transplant to Davis. In a conversation with Jeff Shaw, Kyle talks about his own experience understanding the importance of a simple haircut, and the centrality of a barbershop, especially in black and brown communities. He discusses his mission to help neighbors in need who want to look their best, and the ways a haircut can contribute to mental wellness. Learn more about the Day of Duty, which will  offer barbering, free food, clothing, school supplies, and support services here in Davis. 12-6 pm Oct.

Advocating for the Arts

Davis Media Access (DMA) straddles an interesting intersection between the arts and technology, but we are generally classified as an arts and culture organization. Our Yolo County arts and culture nonprofits were deeply impacted during the pandemic, both financially and programmatically, and many of us still have our doors closed or our services deeply curtailed.

 

One of the hats I wear is chair of Arts Alliance Davis. I’m pleased to note I’ll serve as moderator for an an important Aug. 30 workshop, “Mapping the Sector: Arts & Culture Post-Pandemic.”  Co-hosted by Arts Alliance Davis, YoloArts and the Yolo Community Foundation, the virtual event will detail these impacts and explore what reopening and recovery look like.
 


 

The workshop will feature a presentation about the current needs of the arts  and culture sector, followed by a panel discussion featuring local nonprofit leaders providing context, information, and stories. Then all participants are invited into facilitated breakout groups for discussion and collaboration. Register here

         --Autumn Labbe-Renault, Executive Director

KDRT wins national award

KDRT Wins 2021 Hometown Media Award

DAVIS, California ─ KDRT 95.7 FM has received a 2021 Hometown Media Award from the Washington, DC-based Alliance for Community Media (ACM) Foundation. Station representatives will accept the award for “Overall Excellence in Community Radio” at a virtual ceremony June 30, 2021. This is an inaugural year for this award, and was awarded to three stations of different sizes.

KDRT is a project of Davis Media Access (DMA), the only nonprofit community media center in Yolo County. Founded in 1988 and based in Davis, DMA carries out its mission of providing alternatives to commercial media through partnerships across Yolo County.

The radio station—whose motto is “Where the Grassroots Grow”—launched in 2004 and has been broadcasting from the DMA facility at 1623 Fifth Street 24/7 ever since. In fact, DMA's original incarnation - Davis Community Television--was the first public access center in the nation to launch a Low-Power FM radio station.

With 34 local programmers, the station provides an eclectic mix of music and public affairs programming, with live streaming and podcasts available, and listeners around the globe. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of its volunteer programmers learned how to record from home, keeping the community well connected despite distance and isolation.

17th annual Soup's On event benefits Davis Media Access - Save the Date April 21, 2022

Don Saylor’s Soup’s On event has been a community mainstay since 2004, an annual fundraiser that has generated over $350,000 in critical support for nonprofits throughout Yolo County. After a pandemic hiatus, the event returns Thursday, April 21 from 6-8 pm at the Veterans Memorial Center in Davis.

All proceeds from this year’s event benefit Davis Media Access (DMA), a nonprofit community media and technology center based in Davis, with partnerships countywide. During the pandemic, DMA reinvented a hands-on, participatory organization into one who helped organizations throughout the county surmount the challenges of virtual events and technology.

This event will be the final Soup’s On, as Saylor is retiring from public service when his term as Yolo County Supervisor for District 2 ends on December 31, 2022. “The Soup’s On benefit event was built on the simple human experience of sharing warm soup when someone is sick, feeling down or in need. Building on that loving impulse, together we have created a tradition of gathering over soup to help the helpers – nonprofits that do so much to tend the fabric of our community,” Saylor said. “Since the first Soup’s On in 2004, this event has raised over $350,000 and increased community awareness for many worthy causes in Yolo County.”

Saylor said he chose DMA as the final recipient because “DMA is a go-to partner when the Yolo community comes together to address a cause. DMA became a key resource for public health updates and local voices throughout the pandemic. They produced local election coverage on all contested races in Yolo County. They helped Woodland Community College bring its TV station and instructional media program online, and they provided support for local schools, nonprofits, and businesses across the county. As an organization, they are a perfect demonstration of the Yolo Way, proving that we are far better when we work together.”

Giving Tuesday Gratitude for the Grassroots

Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021  is Giving Tuesday, and on this worldwide day of generosity we at Davis Media Access invite our community of local media advocates to show your support of our beloved grassroots radio station KDRT 95.7FM.  It operates 24/7 from the power of passionate volunteer programmers, and stays on-air due to your support at kdrt.org/donate

Thanks for supporting DMA/KDRT on May 6, BDOG2021

During the 24 hours of Big Day of Giving (BDOG) on May 6, Davis Media Acccess and KDRT received close to 100 donations, and we exceeded our 24-hour goal for the second year in a row. Thank you for the generous support of our  community media!  In Yolo County, 98 nonprofits received $1.5 million -- up 75% from the pre-pandemic 2019 figures, according to the Yolo Community Foundation.

Concern for the Creative Economy (column in Feb. 26, 2021 Davis Enterprise)

As the name implies, Davis Media Access (DMA) is a community media center, but it’s generally classified under the larger umbrella of arts and culture organizations. This is one of those things that has bearing as we apply for grants, but it also plays out in our day-to-day work, as we teach both media technology and media arts.

One of the hats I wear in our community is as chair of Arts Alliance Davis. We're a coalition of arts-minded folks from all around Yolo County: we're artists, we staff diverse arts organizations, and we promote arts opportunities. In normal times, we meet approximately six times per year to network and strengthen the arts in Davis and beyond. I love this role, as I’ve learned much about many hidden gems (people and places) across Yolo County.

It’s been an excruciatingly hard year for many of our participating organizations and artists. As Julie Baker of CA Arts Advocates recently noted on Facebook, “From the CA $227 billion budget, CA is in good shape financially with a $15 billion projected surplus. Preliminary read for creative industries, looks like state arts agency stays around the same with $25 million for Cultural Institutions in grants in the next round of $575 million for small businesses.

“It is a start but considering the devastation to the creative industries as compared to our economic impact pre-COVID (larger than that of both construction and transportation) it is simply not enough,” Baker said.

Election Night at Davis Media Access

Davis Media Access (DMA) produced a live, election-night program on Nov. 3, 2020, highlighting local races and local ballot measures. The show aired live, and streamed on KDRT and YouTube. Providing free, non-partisan local election coverage to local candidates has been part of  our mission for more than 30 years.

Earlier in the season, DMA produced “Meet the Candidates,” a series of short interviews highlighting candidates for races from school board through Congress, as well as local ballot measures—in all, 26 interviews. The media center has also aired forums from the League of Women Voters Davis Area and the Yolo Committee for Diverse and Inclusive Elections. All content is available at https://davismedia.org/election.

Co-hosts are for the evening were DMA's Executive Director Autumn Labbe-Renault, with Davis City Councilmember Dan Carson from 8-9; Davis City Councilmember and former mayor Brett Lee from 9-10, and Davis Mayor Gloria Partida from 10-11.