Hightower, Childs help drive KDNK’s membership effort | AspenTimes.com

Hightower, Childs help drive KDNK’s membership effort

John Stroud
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

CARBONDALE – Community radio station KDNK is serving up some celebrity face time for its fall membership drive, which kicks off today and continues through Oct. 1 with a goal to raise $50,000 in support.

A KDNK Royalty Package for current or new members signing up at the Sustainable level ($240 per year) or above will include VIP access to two special membership events.

The first will be a meet-and-greet dinner with author/adventurer Craig Childs, beginning at 8 tonight at the Wheeler Opera House.

Childs will give a presentation of images based on his book, “House of Rain,” in which he pieces together prehistoric clues to determine what happened to an ancient civilization of cliff dwellers.

“A mix of highly personal journeys and hard-boiled archaeology, this book explores the so-called disappearance of the Anasazi,” according to a KDNK press release about the event.

The VIP membership deal also includes an invitation to a meet-and-greet with populist radio commentator and author Jim Hightower at the Flying Dog Ranch in Carbondale on Oct. 1. At 7 that night, a public “town hall meeting” will be held with Hightower at the Colorado Rocky Mountain School barn.

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A former Texas agricultural commissioner, Hightower became a popular radio voice in the 1990s with his syndicated daily commentaries and talk shows. He also publishes a monthly political newsletter, “The Hightower Lowdown,” and has authored seven books, including his most recent, “Swim Against the Current: Even a Dead Fish Can Go With the Flow.”

Hightower’s commentaries air twice daily on KDNK, heard throughout the Roaring Fork Valley and western Garfield County at 88.1, 88.3 and 88.5 FM.

“I was having a conversation with [KDNK supporter] John McBride one day, and we started talking about populism and how it affects change,” said KDNK station manager Steve Skinner. “So, we decided we should get Hightower to come out here again.”

This will be Hightower’s second visit in recent years to Carbondale for a KDNK fundraising event.

“We’ll leave it up to Jim,” Skinner said of the town hall meeting format. “I’ve given him a few of the community’s issues and what we’re dealing with, for him to talk about.”

The fall membership drive in general will focus on news and public affairs, “although we will still have some of the frivolous fun here and there,” Skinner said.

“We did a couple of think tanks with longtime listeners and supporters, and a common theme was that it’s important for the community to have a voice, and the importance of KDNK in providing that voice,” he said.

Special programming in the coming week will include a live remote broadcast Monday at 7 p.m. of a National Public Radio and High Country News media panel discussion on the West. The panel will include NPR Denver reporter Jeff Brady, High Country News state capitol correspondent Bente Birkeland and local journalist and Aspen Times columnist Paul Andersen.

Hitting the airwaves at 7 p.m. Sept. 30 will be a panel discussion on youth diversity in the Roaring Fork Valley, moderated by former Aspen mayor John Bennett, at Roaring Fork High School.

The Andy Zanca Youth Empowerment Program is organizing the panel to address multiculturalism in the valley’s schools.

Representatives from six area high schools will discuss multicultural relationships in the learning environment from a youth perspective.

The event is free, but donations to support youth radio broadcast education will be accepted.

Membership and private donations comprise about one-third of KDNK’s annual budget, Skinner said.

“Community radio is as important as ever,” he said. “And I’m confident people will continue to support us.”

The membership drive begins at 8 this morning with a remote broadcast and “Muffin Mash Up” at the Village Smithy restaurant in Carbondale. Other membership week events include:

• Cowboy Randy remote broadcast from Leadville, Melanzana, 8-10 a.m. Friday.

• Women’s Arm ‘Rasslin in Leadville, 10 p.m. Friday.

• Women’s Arm ‘Rasslin at Phat Thai in Carbondale, 10 p.m. Saturday.

jstroud@postindependent.com