Show them the money

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Remember local music? Remember how much of it there was? Remember those times when going to a show would mean missing three other shows you also wanted to attend and you’d hope the stars would align perfectly so that you could bounce from one to the next and see it all, but really you’d end up at the first place you started because the bands were so good you didn’t want to miss a single song and you knew you could just catch the bands playing the other three shows next time?

Those were the days. I long for their return.

At present, with no live music, it can feel as though we’re totally cut off from the music scene that is the cornerstone of so many of our lives. However, reconnecting is as simple as turning on the radio.

As everyone knows by now, I’m a diehard, forever-and-always radio fan. No matter where I’m at or what I’m doing, I listen to the radio for at least a few minutes—and typically longer—every single day. During this time of great isolation, radio has a way of making me feel like I’m still part of something. You can keep your streaming services—for me, radio is where it’s at.

In light of our disconnect—both from society at large and our music scene in particular—I have never appreciated Make.Shift’s nonprofit community radio station KZAX more. Sure, the individual shows are great, showcasing everything from hip-hop to math rock to roots music to psychedelic to rarities to several shows that fall under the broad umbrella of “eclectic,” as are the news and talk shows, but I’m in it for the regular ol’ rotation music, which leans heavily on songs by local bands and musicians. I may not be able to go to a show, but thanks to KZAX, I can still hear some of my favorite bands.

If you’re a KZAX listener or looking to become one (they’re at 94.9 FM or you can stream online), there’s no better time to tune in than 10am-10pm Oct. 18-24 for the station’s first-ever Fall Fund Drive. During this marathon of FM radio action, you’ll hear music, news and other programming, but it will be augmented with donation asks and information about the value of community radio in general and KZAX and Make.Shift in particular.

You can also win cool stuff.

The station’s sponsors have donated an array of prizes, and all during the week, DJs will be doing giveaways from Everyday Music, Mallard Ice Cream, Plants for All People, Saltadena Bakery, the Community Food Co-op, Sweet Art, and more. Having won some prizes from local radio stations (I once won burritos so many days in a row from KUGS they asked me to stop calling in to give others a chance), I can attest to the fact that calling in to win is the kind of good, clean fun we all need right now.

However, there’s no such thing as a respectable radio fund drive without a tote bag—and KZAX has you covered there as well. In keeping with their “No Tricks, Only Treats” Fall Fund Drive motto, they’ve put together five tiers of prizes depending on your level of generosity. Prizes range from stickers for a $5 donation all the way up to the opportunity to record a station ID at the $100 level. As for the tote bag, it features Tim Curry in all his Rocky Horror Frank-N-Furter glory, and it can be yours for a $50 gift.

Aside from being able to sport the coolest tote bag around, your donation to KZAX helps keep them on the air, transmitting the songs and telling the stories that remind us what our music scene sounded like not so long ago—and what it will sound like again. Bridging that distance is as easy as tuning into 94.9 and turning up the volume.

For more info about KZAX and the Fall Fund Drive, go to

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