KDRT Gets Ready to Turn 14

This column was originally published in The Davis Enterprise on Aug. 3, 2018

It is four hours till we flip the switch that will put Davis’ new community radio station on the air. I’m in charge of the launch party, and tending to many last-minute details, when I see him—a tall, rangy man with a kind face. I’d met him some weeks before at an outreach event for KDRT, and he told me he and his wife had just moved to Davis from New Mexico. He’s now strolling towards me, introducing his wife, and they tell me they’re here to help.

And help, they did. As I recall, he stepped in and helped with sound that day, and she did what she does best – made connections with bands and community members. This memory is from a golden September day nearly 14 years ago—Sept. 24, 2004—as we prepared to bring community radio station KDRT on the air for the first time. The man was Jim Buchanan; his wife, Diane Crumley. Little did I know then what they would mean to KDRT, to the community, or me, and that 14 years on, we’d still be working and planning together.

Jim’s radio show, “Live Tracks,” was one of the original shows on KDRT, and he broadcast continuously on Thursday nights until taking a brief hiatus this year. (Good news for local music fans, though—as of two weeks ago, he’s back on the airwaves Thursday nights from 7-9). “Live Tracks” has always highlighted the countless live, local performances that Jim diligently records. As an exacting audio engineer, these shows simply won’t air if Jim doesn’t feel the audio is just right.

Both Jim and Diane have played many roles within KDRT and Davis Media Access over the years—DJ, producer, operations staff, committee member (Jim); committee member, board member, fund raiser, and community organizer (Diane). Jim also helps his brother, Bill Buchanan, produce his long-running public affairs show, “Davisville” on KDRT.

Together, they’ve been a steady presence on the first Thursday of every month at the Davis Odd Fellows’ Thursday Live! music shows in downtown Davis. Jim helps with the sound checks and the audio, while Diane tables at the back of the hall and reps KDRT and Davis Media Access. Month in and month out, year after year, they are such a fixture that co-organizer Juelie Roggli never fails to mention them by name.

Thursday Live! is a remarkable gift to the community from service organization Davis Odd Fellows. The series returns next month and on the first Thursday of November, Nov. 1, the “Davis Odd Stars” band (who brought you the 50th anniversary Summer of Love concert in 2017), will be back to cover British Invasion favorites from The Kinks, Rolling Stones, Yardbirds and Zombies, to The Animals, Herman’s Hermits, Them, and more. The show is free, but donations are encouraged. Proceeds from this show will help support KDRT, in honor of its involvement with the Thursday Live!

So, it’s been 14 years—and counting—of building community through a low-power, high-energy radio station called KDRT. None of it would have been the same without Jim and Diane. I had occasion to share a beer with them recently  as we got together with a former coworker. Hanging at Sudwerk on a mellow Tuesday evening, Diane looked at me and said, “Autumn, this is our wealth.” I knew just what she meant. In a time of divisiveness and discord, these long-term friendships—this sense of place, and connectedness, and community—is everything.

The British Invasion benefit show was originally announced for Sept. 6, but the Odd Fellows have since confirmed Nov. 1. Doors open at 7; music starts at 7:30.