Spirit of Radio: KUZU Launches in Denton

KUZU's new studio space for the station.
KUZU's new studio space for the station.
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Denton has a sound all its own. KUZU 92.9 FM started broadcasting at noon Saturday with 24 hours of North Texas music.

When Peter Salisbury and his crew of producers and volunteers announced the creation of the low-power station last year, they rallied the city’s artists to support the independent, noncommercial community radio station with a successful fundraiser dubbed the KUZU-A-Thon.

While the original plan was to get on the air by last summer, Salisbury says, there was a lot more to starting a radio station than he bargained for. “We didn’t know exactly what we were getting into," he says. " There were all kinds of little things we had to learn along the way."

For months, Salisbury and his crew navigated the process of starting a radio station from scratch — finding a studio space, filing legal paperwork and physically installing the antenna. It all paid off when the station finally hit the airwaves this weekend. 

The station had a launch party at Harvest House, where a dynamic lineup of homegrown artists kicked off the celebration, including KUZU volunteer and singer-songwriter Claire Morales. Morales got acquainted with the KUZU producers when she volunteered at the fundraiser for the station last spring.

“Having local music in rotation and having local fans that are engaged, it’s just a really important thing," she says. "I think it’s something that can really help us build something."

Although radio is an “archaic” format, Morales says, it gives music fans another way to experience music. “Being a musician in 2017 is way different than it used to be," she says. "All this throwback stuff, like radio and vinyl and people coming to concerts, is something that I hope comes back.”

KUZU’s programming includes "Musica Sin Fronteras," hosted by Alberto Lopez, a longtime Denton resident and radio enthusiast. His one-hour show is dedicated to Latin American music with an emphasis on African, Middle Eastern and European influences.

Other scheduled programs include "Richard Oram’s Granny Takes a Trip" — featuring ’60s garage, psychedelia and bubblegum music — as well as "Low Fidelity," a local show focused on the newest music, hosted by Nathan Williams and others.

“KUZU will be a great venue for many of those groups of artists who have something to say to all of us,” Lopez says.

Moving forward, Salisbury says the station will have to raise funds with pledge drives and grant writing, but after months of painful effort, he’s satisfied that KUZU is finally on the air.

“I think we were dreaming a little big, but you know, you got to dream big for a big project like this," he says. "It’s finally happening, and we couldn’t be happier."

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