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Seven-Year Itch 

Spokane's community radio station is seven years old. Have you tuned in yet?

click to enlarge KYRS DJs Dungeon Master (Martin Faulks) and Yoko Phono (Amy Herman)
  • KYRS DJs Dungeon Master (Martin Faulks) and Yoko Phono (Amy Herman)

A sticker on the window reads, “don’t trust corporate media.” The combination of Free Tibet stickers, tapestries and mounds of CDs is everything you’d expect from a public radio station. All that’s missing is a birthday cake. This year, KYRS Thin Air Community Radio celebrates seven years of broadcasting as a low-power FM radio station. But that’s not enough. These radio do-gooders and DJs want full power, and after a successful plea to the Federal Communications Commission, they’re gonna get it.

They just have to wait a little longer. A race against Mother Nature has pushed the deadline back on their new tower and subsequent status as a full-power radio station. Construction is scheduled for Spring 2011 when the snow melts, which gives the station more time to raise another $50,000.

When completed, the full-power radio tower will reach new ears around the region. Right now, the KYRS airwaves are powered by a tower with the wattage of a light bulb — but with the help of a translator, that signal reaches households sporadically in Spokane, Coeur d’Alene and Deer Park. The new tower would send Thin Air’s mix of political, cultural and musical commentary to all of Spokane and as far as Kettle Falls, Newport and Colville. KYRS estimates 300,000 people will be able to tune in then.

“We’re really trying to provide programming to un-served and under-served groups that don’t normally get media coverage,” says station manger Lupito Flores. “We focus on the local issues, local people, local talent, local bands, and let those people have a slice of the airwaves that don’t normally get heard.”

The KYRS seven-year anniversary party feat. the Fat Tones and Son Dulce • Sat, Nov. 20, at 7:30 pm • $15-$18 • Silver Auctions • 2020 N. Monroe St. • All-ages • • 747-3012

If you’ve never heard a KYRS show, here’s a sampling of some of our favorites.


Genre: Folk/classical/soundtracks
Host: Nicole Hensley
Time: Sundays from 10 am to noon
Tune in and hear: Musical history and trivia, obscure tracks and nerdy commentary.
The DJ says: “Listening to new music makes the neurons in your brain work harder to understand it. It’s like brain exercises.”


Genre: Hip hop/rap/R&B
Hosts: Chelsea Brown, Faheem Rahmen
Time: Tuesdays from 10 pm to midnight
Tune in and hear: Raw, underground hiphop.
The DJ says: “There is a decent hip hop scene in Spokane,” says Chelsea Brown. “We’re trying to bring everyone together and make it strive into an actual movement.”


Genre: Experimental/metal/women’s issues
Host: Lindsae Williams
Time: Thursdays from 10 pm to midnight
Tune in and hear: Punk-rock ideology meets egalitarian women’s reform. Interviews and discussions of veganism, home births and radical menstruation spliced with heavy, brooding metal play lists.
The DJ says: “Spokane doesn’t have enough forums for young, radical women.”


Genre: Progressive/college radio
Hosts: Carl Carlsteen, Todd Kehne
Time: Wednesdays from 10 am to noon
Tune in and hear: No fluff, just healthy doses of criticism and humor. Easy listening music keeps anyone from getting too upset.
The DJ says: “We make people laugh so hard they want to pee themselves,” Carlsteen says.


Genre: Retro/post-punk
Host: J.D. Norton
Time: Mondays from 10 pm to midnight
Tune in and hear: Post punk music from the late 1970s and early ’80s. Dark, raw and original.
The DJ says: “I like the do-it-yourself originality in music, when they get outside of mainstream music and corporate culture. That’s the spirit of punk.”


Genre: Jazz/R&B/soul
Host: Darrell Strong
Time: Wednesdays from 6 to 8 pm
Tune in and hear: A smooth collection of rhythm and blues from the 1970s and beyond; it’s almost too groovy and sexy for the airwaves.
The DJ says: “Listeners tell me they’ve been somewhat deprived of the type of music that I play.”

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