A rousing African dance ensemble led by drummer Saturnin Ba capped off KZYX's 25th birthday party at Boonville Fairgrounds’ Apple Hall Saturday.
More than 275 people attended the afternoon of music, dance and shout outs to past and present KZYX staff, board members and volunteers.
Congressman Jared Huffman's staff presented a commendation to KZYX programmer Val Muchowski. The Philo resident, who has hosted the Women's Voices program since the station's inception 25 years ago, announced Saturday that her last show will be October 20.
“It was a great honor to be recognized by Congressman Huffman,” Muchowski said. “Over the past 25 years, Women’s Voices has sought to connect Mendocino women through interviews, poetry, songs and stories. Janie Rezner, Blake More and Mary Aigner will continue to do so in the future. Women’s Voices will continue. It was wonderful to see all my friends and programmers who have kept KZXY so vibrant over the years.”
Charlie Hochberg, also of Philo, won special recognition for supporting the station since it's inception — as a programmer, board member, donor and volunteer.
Humble Pie’s Jimmy Humble reminisced about the station’s early days, reading a story from former KZXY DJ Sister Yasmin about the “hardships” eager programmers such as herself experienced when the station first opened.
“The front door was not yet there or functional, so we had to enter and leave through the garage in the back,” Yasmin said. “There also were no lights, no gravel, no path, no nothing but mud, sometimes deep mud.
“I remember that in order to safely carry my heavy vinyl (no CDs yet!), I had to put on my [car] brights and use that light to see the sort of walk way of boards covering the mud to get into the garage. I remember how scary it was to enter the building in the dark and leave it in the dark, but we all did it, because we were in love with radio, in love with KZYX, in love with our communities, and especially in love with our music, and we wanted to share it, we burned to share it with everyone who was listening.”
Home brews from five local beer makers, eight local wines, lunch from Delish of Willits and birthday cake kept the steady stream of guests spirited and well fed.
“This was a great celebration and a tremendous kick off to our fall pledge drive,” said station general manager John Coate. “The community turnout was fantastic. We raised some money for the station and honored many of the people who have kept the station on the air for 25 years.”
Over the course of the afternoon, the event’s emcee, KZYX Treehouse programmer W. Dan, asked the programmers present to introduce themselves, allowing many in the audience to see for the first time the faces of the voices they’ve been listening to on the radio for years.
Among the programmers present were: Jimmy Humble, Mary Aigner, Jamie Roberts, Johanna Wildoak, Annie Esposito, Fred Wooley, Barbara Lamb, Tim Bray, Colleen Bassett, Lilia Lobo de Albuquerque, Michael Arago, Sherry Glaser Love, Jerry Karp, Doug Livingston, Stuart Campbell, Fred Wooley, Colin Harris, Paul Lambert, Barbara Lamb, Michael Kisslinger, Beth Lang, Ragtime Rick, Liz (Bessie Mae Mucho) Helenchild, Aline Jalfim, Tom Wodezki, Bill Taylor, Shari Williams Andrews and Jaye Allison Macariello.
An Honor Roll list of more than 500 people who have served the station in many capacities over the course of 25 years decorated the hall.
KZYX board president Eliane Herring said the turnout was gratifying, particularly in light of the many community events happening on the same day in Willits, Laytonville and Fort Bragg.
“I hope folks who couldn’t attend the bash but still want to support the station will call KZYX in the next few days to make a pledge,” Herring said. “We want to keep the station alive and well for another 25 years.”