The station where I proudly DJ, KFJC, turns 50 years old on October 20th. It's amazing to me that it's remained a formidable force in college radio for this long, with new experiments year after year.
For the past few weeks DJs from days gone by have been coming back to KFJC to DJ and it's been a real treat hearing voices that haven't been on the air in years and seeing playlists full of artists reflecting prior decades.
In today's Metroactive, columnist and long-time KFJC fan Gary Singh gives an overview of some of the station's history, while hyping its 50th Anniversary Art Show (opening this Friday in San Jose at Kaleid Gallery) in which winners from KFJC's art contest will be on display. He writes:
"I've been a KFJC listener for more than 20 years, because in my opinion the entire purpose of college radio is to play anything the commercial stations wouldn't possibly touch, and in KFJC's case, they've disregarded all standard procedures for decades now. In 1978, four student managers pretty much overthrew the general manager due to his belligerent, unwavering emphasis on mainstream album-rock formatting.
The station then subsequently went on to bring the entire punk/New Wave explosion to the South Bay. Even today, by the grace of God, Satan, Loki, Isis or whoever, you never know what to expect from that station. One day, it'll be Japanese surf music followed by master musicians from Morocco followed by 30 minutes of doom metal. The next day, you'll hear avant-garde jazz, ambient electronica, obscure psychedelic rock and then children's records deliberately played at the wrong speed."
It's all true!
In related KFJC news, there have been several efforts recently to document KFJC's past and present. The station has been collecting vintage materials, photos, T-shirts, and stories from listeners. At the same time, former staff member Eric Predoehl has been meticulously posting old photos from the station (particularly from the era of 1982-1984) and events on his Flickr page.
Additionally, some students at San Francisco State produced an audio documentary about KFJC this year called "The Radio Bug", which also includes some beautiful photographs of the station and DJs. Long-time listener Scott Stuppi also started a project a few months ago to document KFJC events and DJs. On his blog you can catch some of his photos.
I think it's really important to preserve a station's history and a 50th anniversary is as good a reason as any to focus on that effort.