It’s said that a picture is worth a thousand words. As a new addition to the KZUM family, I find this picture so inspiring. Taken in the early 80’s, it features many of KZUM’s founding members including some that are still rockin’ the air waves today like, Scott Colborn (Exploring Unexplained Phenomena), Hardy Holm (Strawberry Fields), Eric Bachenberg (Exposition Flyer), Jim Anderson (A Blues Oasis) and John Schmitz (The Heyride). When I look at the bright faces and feel the pride embodied in this photograph, I can’t help but wonder if they had any idea that KZUM would be going strong over thirty years later.
As KZUM prepares to move into new and improved studio’s and office space, I can’t help but think back to what KZUM has meant to me over the years. This photo exudes an aura of nostalgia for me. It takes me back twenty years to the time of my first exposure to KZUM. I remember how cool I thought it was that such a station existed. I had always been a kid who loved all genres of music but growing up in small town Nebraska limited most of my music exposure to Top 40, MTV, and music selections dictated by choir instructors.
I look at this photo and see people like none I’d experienced before moving to Lincoln; people who seem to embody the qualities I wanted to cultivate in me so many years ago. I see strong, vibrant feminists alongside comfortable earth mother types. I see activists, hippies and revolutionaries. I see outdoorsy types, smart and creative nerdy types, and shaggy wild men who remind me of Wolfman Jack and Charles Manson (Haha!). I smile at familiar faces like Ron Kurtenbach, remembering his time on public television and chuckle at how handsome a former neighbor was in his youth.
Looking closely, I see someone sporting a “Sonia Johnson for President” t-shirt (a feminist author and one of the first women to run for presidential office), an early Open Harvest Co-op t-shirt, a woman wearing one of the first KZUM t-shirts produced back when the station was broadcasting on 89.5 (a shirt that hangs in my office today) and someone displaying a book by Carlos Casteneda (an author and anthropologist who wrote about shape shifting and shamanism). How completely cool is that??? There are handsome, clean cut looking guys, rebellious bad boy types and well… a group of people who I would just love to sit down and drink some beers with. I see happy smiles, bashful smiles, sassy smiles and sarcastic smiles. I see wit, intelligence, silliness, laughter, hopefulness, strength and pride.
I see… Scary Clown!!! What the heck? Why is there a scary clown?? Being a mildly coulrophobic person, it both amuses me and terrifies me all at once. What’s even funnier is how many times I’ve looked at this photo and never saw it. Then one day - AH!! Scary Clown! I guess it’s an example of how I see something different every time I look at this photo; the same as how I hear something different every time I tune in to KZUM. The group inspires me and the photo shines with a groovy aura of peace, expansive thought and a wild variety of personalities that molded KZUM into what it is today.
I look at this picture and I see KZUM! I see the backbone of everything that makes KZUM so great. I see rock, blues, jazz, news, soul, punk, new age, bluegrass and world music… diversity at its finest. This picture makes me feel proud to be part of a community with so many amazing people who work so hard and give so much of themselves, all to make it great. I am even prouder still to be part of something as wonderful as KZUM… even if a scary clown does pop into view every now and then.
It’s an exciting time for KZUM now. The upcoming move has everyone anxiously anticipating great things to come. It seems that the changes are happening at lightning speed. This new adventure for KZUM means so many things; like better accommodations for our programmers and office staff, new and exciting opportunities for local and national musicians to perform live in the KZUM studios, abundant parking (Ha!), new production equipment, a place to connect more efficiently with old friends of KZUM and new friends of the station yet to come, the community and best of all, a new cycle of expansion and growth. As a cleansing energy starts to move through the KZUM studios, it’s easy to drift away into day dreams about the endless potential that lies ahead for Lincoln’s awesome little community radio station.
So while I struggle to come up with a thousand words, I will close by saying this; it’s easy to take KZUM for granted. I know that I am guilty of listening for years before I finally became active in supporting the station. I think that many people (myself included) assume that if they can’t pledge high dollar amounts, they have nothing to offer. This couldn’t be further from the truth (as I discovered). There are so many ways to bring KZUM into your life. You can work with us on sponsorship for non-profit or community events, join in conversation and share KZUM through social media outlets, volunteer a few hours of your time to assist office staff, answer phones during our Spring & Fall pledge drives or join us for a lot of fun at one of the many exciting community events that KZUM hosts throughout the year.
It doesn’t take a lot of time or energy to make a big difference. If KZUM means as much to you as it does to me, it is my hope that you join us in thinking outside of the box and find a way to get involved. You have so much to offer, just as KZUM has so much to offer you.
Huh…exactly 1,000 words.
By Missy Murkins, Community Engagement Partner