Recently, young professionals attended a YPN exclusive event at the newly opened KDHX Larry J. Weir Center for Independent Media building in Grand Center. YPNs enjoyed an evening of conversation with RBC members Michael Staenberg and John Ferring that centered around philanthropy in our region. Read more on Staenberg and Ferring’s philanthropic achievements here.
YPNs were excited for the unique opportunity to visit one of the most high-tech performance venues in the region. Located at 3524 Washington Avenue in Grand Center, the KDHX Larry J. Weir Center for Independent Media is an arts destination with a café and music venue for the entire community to enjoy. Audiences can enjoy concerts, film series, and thought-provoking sessions on music and art. Down the street, the Folk School of KDHX offers music classes, workshops and more.
In an increasingly commercial world, KDHX is a non-profit arts organization celebrating over 25 years of independent music, art and culture in St. Louis. The Folk School, The Stage, the Magnolia Café, KDHX.org, and 88.1 FM all work together to form a flourishing arts destination committed to building community through media.
We had the opportunity to speak with KDHX staff member Kelly Wells, to discuss music, art, and culture in St. Louis.
- Celebrating over 25 years of independent music, art, and culture is impressive. Can you tell us about the history of KDHX?
What KDHX does is pretty rare. Back in 1987, some hippies, societal outcasts and aggressively insubordinate troublemakers all came together with an insane idea: “Why don’t we do radio the way it’s supposed to be done: with real DJs playing music you’ll never hear anywhere else. And why don’t we do it without any commercials.” We’ve carried on that spirit while getting better each year at what we now do best: delivering quality, independent arts and music programming that competes on the national stage.
Because of this hard work from volunteers and grassroots listener support, KDHX is now a St. Louis institution — promoting music, art, talent, and big ideas from the little guys.
- As a non-profit organization, you work with a diverse group of professional staff and volunteers. Why is diversity important to the organization?
Diversity is at the very heart of KDHX. Our mission of building community through media creates a foundation of outreach and inclusiveness. We like to say that “KDHX is for you” meaning that we’ve got something for everyone and that’s very important to us. Diversity is something we strive for, talk about, and keep at the forefront of our plans and vision. KDHX has always been the sum of its parts and it takes all the parts to keep KDHX strong: listeners, supporters, volunteers, and staff all function as part of the whole creating a community that is rare and unique.
3. Volunteers play a vital role in the continuation and success of KDHX. How can YPN members get involved?
Volunteers do play a crucial role at KDHX. With only 14 staff members, volunteers make things happen that we could never accomplish on our own. Volunteers do everything from programming on air content (all our DJs are volunteers), to helping at events, stuffing envelopes, answering phones during our donor drives, producing live video, concert reviews, concert photo reviews, and more. Our newest volunteer role is our digital street team. We’re gathering a group of committed volunteers to share upcoming events, news, photos, and video on social media to get the word out about everything KDHX has to offer.
Whatever a person’s interests and availability are, we strive to find a volunteer opportunity that is interesting and fulfilling. We are always excited to welcome new volunteers, so anyone interested can email our volunteer coordinator, Scott Bahan at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
4. Please share some upcoming events from the jam-packed KDHX events calendar.
- Tuesdays at KDHX: Each Tuesday night of the month, KDHX hosts free events at The Stage. First Tuesdays feature a musical narrative film. Second Tuesdays feature 40s & 45s – bring your vinyl, enjoy local beer releases, and listen to a playlist curated by a KDHX DJ created from your vinyl. Third Tuesdays feature a musical documentary film. Fourth Tuesdays feature Sessions: an interactive educational event including panels, multi-media presentations, and live music.
- Harvest Sessions: Weekly live music hosted by KDHX at the Tower Grove Farmers Market. Upcoming this Saturday: Greg Silsby
- Friday, June 13, 7:30pm: “Nothing Can Hurt Me,” an evening with the music of Big Star, featuring Jody Stephens of Big Star; a screening of “Nothing Can Hurt Me: The Music of Big Star”; and a live musical performance by members of Magnolia Summer and The Feed.
- Thursday, July 31: Concert at The Stage: Bradford Lee Folk & the Bluegrass Playboys
- Wednesday, August 6: Concert at The Stage: Mandolin Orange
For more information about any of our events, visit KDHX.org/Events.
- Can you explain more about the exciting new app that allows listeners to stream 88.1?
88.1 KDHX is on the air 24 hours a day with unique and diverse programming. You can stream KDHX on your computer at KDHX.org, but you can also listen in on your smartphone. There are a couple of different radio apps that facilitate listening, but we especially use TuneIn. TuneIn’s free app allows you to stream KDHX anytime – just choose KDHX as a “favorite” and take KDHX with you everywhere you go!
- Do you have anything more you would like to share?
KDHX is a thoughtful, progressive, and visionary institution. We are always striving to be even better than we’ve been before. We’re committed to creating a community like no other and being on the cutting edge of technology and media. There’s something very special here that can’t be denied. KDHX is magic!