[As reported in the AVA three months ago]
KZYX, Mendocino County Public Broadcasting, will close on a property at 390 West Clay Street in Ukiah this week in an important step toward moving the station’s main studios and business office to the County seat. KZYX has been headquartered in a leased facility in Philo since it went on the air in 1989.
The move to Ukiah will accomplish multiple goals for KZYX. The new site will provide a more reliable broadcast signal, a necessity since line of sight from the Philo location to the transmitter atop Cold Springs Mountain is threatened by tree growth. In addition, through owning its studio rather than leasing, the station will be building a stable foundation for the future, with more autonomy over its own space. Once established in Ukiah, Mendocino County’s commercial and governmental hub and main population center, KZYX will gain greater access to volunteers, officials, nonprofits, businesses, supporters, cultural organizations and emergency services. Finally, the Clay Street property will accommodate both a larger local news operation, and a performance space where music, radio plays and debates can be broadcast live or recorded.
The new facility sits on a park-like .42 acres and includes two buildings connected by a covered patio. The larger building (1500 square feet) will house the broadcast studios and production staff; the smaller building (750 square feet) will be used for administrative offices. Ukiah residents will recognize the location as the site of the long-time acupuncture clinic of the much admired Dr. Grace Liu until her death in 2016.
Moving the station’s operations from Philo to Ukiah will be an approximately year-long process. KZYX plans a minor remodel of the property, including installation of the necessary technical infrastructure. This will include the erection of a tower to send the KZYX signal to Laughlin Peak, and the installation of a satellite dish offering live access to news and other programming from National Public Radio and other national producers. The City of Ukiah approved a permit last week, and the new studio’s neighbors have been contacted as well.
KZYX’s mission is to serve all of Mendocino County, and that will not change. KZYX will maintain its three transmitters on Cold Springs, Laughlin Peak and Bald Hill in order to cover Mendocino County’s nearly 4,000 square miles. The station will continue to operate satellite studios in Fort Bragg, Willits and Talmage/Ukiah, and will also maintain a presence in Anderson Valley with a production studio and a small office. Some 100 volunteers create programming on KZYX, many using the remote studios around the county to produce their shows.
KZYX has more than 2500 members who support the station with tax-deductible contributions. The nonprofit station is also funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, underwriting from local businesses, grants and events (when Covid allows). KZYX employs a nine-member staff, four of them full-time, and is governed by an unpaid Board of Directors.
In the past two years, KZYX has focused on timely and accurate disaster response and added Spanish language announcements during active emergencies such as wildfires. The station plans to hire a bilingual news director in early 2022. KZYX has also added new local programs featuring Spanish speakers and members of the Pomo tribe.
KZYX features a dynamic schedule of locally produced programming, including shows offering a diverse range of musical genres and public affairs programs covering a range of crucial topics, including state and county politics, ecology, social services and more, all created by dedicated and knowledgeable volunteer producers. In addition, the 32-year-old station is Mendocino County’s National Public Radio affiliate, broadcasting NPR news and entertainment programs, as well as other popular national programming.
For more information, please contact KZYX Station Manager Marty Durlin, at 707 895-9321, or visit the station website: www.kzyx.org.