High Points: KDNK Birthday Bash

Paul E. Anna

It was this past snowy Valentine’s Tuesday when I realized, once again, how much I love the local radio station in Carbondale. The DJ who was hosting KDNK’s “Blues Kitchen” radio show was playing Magic Sam’s “I Need You So Bad,” and it provided the perfect soundtrack to a stormy morning. In fact, on most occasions, the KDNK radio-show hosts tend to play just the right song at just the right time.

I bring this up because KDNK is on the cusp of celebrating the 40th anniversary of the station’s founding back in 1983. This past Tuesday, the day of the Magic Sam jam, tickets went on sale for the KDNK Birthday Bash, which will take place at the Third Street Center in Carbondale on Saturday, April 15 — the same date the station went live four decades ago.

Sure, that’s still a couple of months down the road, but now is the time to go online at to secure your ducats for what is sure to be a night to remember.

They may even talk about it 40 years from now.

The Bash will begin with, as you would expect, dinner and a story. Actually, many stories, I’m guessing. Catered by The Farmer & Chef with added lubrication offered by Sopris Liquor and Wine and the always popular Ska Brewing from Durango, tickets to the 6-8 p.m dinner and storytelling gathering are $75 each. And they are assured to sell out.

The second option is to get moving at the KDNK Dance Party and Concert featuring The Magic Beans, which will set you back $20 if you are member of KDNK, the non-profit, or $25 if not. There will be a bonfire in the park, a pop-up record store, and all your favorite DJs will be spinning vinyl. Just like it ever was.

If you know KDNK, then you likely love KDNK. It is a throwback, local public station with its own personality. Ever since KAJX, Aspen Public Radio, opted for the “all talk, all the time” programing a couple of years back, KDNK became even more important for those who long for the eclectic musical stylings that appeal to so many of us. I mean I love KAJX, especially the news team that bring me live and local info (shoutout to Kaya Williams), but I can only take so much “Hear and Now” and “Marketplace” in a given week. It’s informative, but it doesn’t inspire. Bring back the Jazz and Stu Huck.

But at KDNK, 94.7 is where I pick it up best in my mountain lair in Old Snowmass; I have an ever-changing and inspiring selection of music and programming to choose from. And largely I don’t even choose; I just turn my radio on in the morning and let it play through the day.  

Carbondale Community Radio they call it, and the community part is what really resonates. Who among us has not kept an eye open for a lost dog we heard about on the “Lost Dog Report”? Tell me you have not been moved by an historic interview from the past on the “This I Remember” public-affairs program? And then there is the outstanding “AZYEP,” also known as the “Andy Zanca Youth Empowerment Program,” which this year welcomes seventh and eighth graders from the Ross Montessori school as guest programmers and hosts. I am always inspired when I hear the kids do interviews and introduce songs.

But my favorite KDNK program is only on every other week. “Chasin’ the Groove,” hosted by DJ Grateful Ed on alternate Fridays from 2-4 p.m., focuses exclusively on live music that was played on the particular date of the show. So if the Groove is on today, you might hear an Elton John performance from Feb. 17, 1976, or a Dead show from Feb. 17, 1982. It is a great device for putting together a collection of tunes.

See you April 15 in ‘bonedale for KDNK’s 40th Birthday Bash.