Dahl named station manager at KDNK | AspenTimes.com

Dahl named station manager at KDNK

KDNK news director Gavin Dahl, left, has been selected to lead Carbondale's community access radio as the new station manager. Dahl, pictured with morning edition host Steve Cole, will begin as the general manager on Feb. 1.
Ryan Summerlin / Post Independent

KDNK, Carbondale’s community access radio, has named Gavin Dahl, the station’s news director of about nine months, as the new station manager, effective Feb. 1.

“I’m really honored to have the chance to continue the legacy of this institution, one of the oldest community radio stations in the state of Colorado,” said Dahl.

He said KDNK will soon launch its hunt for another news director.

Dahl succeeds Steve Skinner, who was fired in November after 11 years as station manager.

KDNK board members cited the station’s dire financial condition as reasoning to seek a new direction in management.

“We had a strong pool of candidates to choose from and excellent finalists, but in the end every person involved had the highest confidence in Gavin as the next station manager,” said Scott Levine, a KDNK board member who was on the hiring committee.

“I love this station and the unique communities that we serve,” said Dahl. “Our model mixes public access, public service, youth media training, local and national news, and the best music on the dial.

“It’s important to remember about KDNK, that the airwaves we’re broadcasting on are public, and I feel like it’s a tremendous responsibility to put out emergency information, safety and weather information, local news and to feature voices of our neighbors,” he said.

“I have such a deep gratitude to Steve Skinner for his leadership and vision over the last decade. I would not have ever come to the valley as news director if not for him. And I feel like his vision of community access and public service is critical to the success of this station.”

However, KDNK will need to be more organized, engaged and outspoken, said Dahl.

That’ll mean work on many fronts, including more publicity and promotion of the work the volunteers do and more work toward connecting with the Spanish-speaking population, he said.

“We have the best volunteers of any organization I’ve ever been a part of.”

Dahl said he plans to keep the station’s many volunteer DJs, rather than professionalizing the on-air staff.

“I think that might work in other places, but the vitality of our station comes from the our long list of people bringing their own unique approach.”

There’s some great radio in the Roaring Fork Valley, but nothing like KDNK, he said.

And the station has strong membership support in Carbondale, with room for growth in the midvalley and in Glenwood Springs and New Castle, he said.

“KDNK is also committed to its partnership with Andy Zanca Youth Empowerment Program and its work supporting youth media literacy, and bringing bilingual voices to our airwaves is critical to delivering on the station’s mission.”

Though Dahl has been heading the station’s newscast since May, he brings a varied and busy radio background to the station’s helm.

After getting his start at a college radio station in Austin, Texas, he moved to KAOS at his alma mater, Evergreen State College, what Dahl called an experimental public arts school in Olympia, Washington.

He’s worked at community radio stations in Spokane, Boise and Denver.

Dahl said he gained a great deal of nonprofit management experience from working at the Open Media Foundation, Common Frequency and KGNU, a Front Range community radio station.

At the Open Media Foundation he led a government transparency team. And he supported dozens of noncommercial radio startups as a policy advocate at Common Frequency.

Community members can meet Dahl at the station from 4-6 p.m. Feb. 3.