It was out with the old and in with the new, as Boulder Creek’s little radio station that could, KBCZ, transitioned from its longtime frequency of 90.1 FM to its new, expanded home at 89.3 FM on May 27.
Sparkling cider was poured and fans cheered as DJ Ozzy Freak of Boulder Creek counted down the switch. After a two-year process, Station Manager Tina Davey was relieved to be across the finish line.
“May 19 was when the FCC gave our station full and complete coverage for the San Lorenzo Valley, Scotts Valley and parts of Santa Cruz,” Davey said. “If you have a good antenna on your car radio, you can hear us down in Aptos, and people have heard us up at the summit. Our listenership has already increased so much. A lady from Santa Cruz called our station and was so thrilled to find us that she sent us a donation. I feel like the expansion will help us monetarily, and that’s really what we need.”
Davey says the FCC awards licenses, so the station didn’t have to pony up any funds to change its home on the FM dial.
“Since we were already an established station, we applied for the new position and got it,” she said. “There will be a three-year waiting period for 90.1 to become available, but once it is, I hope someone picks it up and runs with it. I wish them well, because it takes a lot of time and effort to get a station to be successful.”
Although the station has only been broadcasting for eight years, Davey is looking ahead for what’s to come.
“We might expand again, and perhaps acquire a studio in Felton,” she said. “That’s going to take funds, though—money like that doesn’t just appear, unless someone wants to donate a building. We’re going to keep our heads down and keep working.”
Instead of commercials, KBCZ has underwriters who help keep the station going.
“Our rates are really cheap compared to other radio stations; it used to be that I had to solicit underwriters for our shows, but now, people are calling to donate directly,” she said. “It’s been a process, and it’s hard to keep up some days.”
In terms of on-air talent, Davey says they’re looking to expand their roster.
“We have a new broadcaster who’s driving up from Aptos once a week, and a woman from Soquel that’s going to do a great talk show,” she said. “More people are hearing about it now, and people are getting on board. It’s been a really exciting process.”
When asked what Davey would like listeners to know, she said, “We’ve always wanted this radio station to serve the Valley, and we wanted to have fun at the same time. When the CZU fire erupted, we wanted to operate at that professional level. The San Lorenzo Valley Water District really helped with that; they let us put one of our antennas up at an elevated site, and they’ve been supportive of our role in helping the community stay informed.”
The Ozzy Freak of Boulder Creek said he was “proud to have a voice and share my musical interests on KBCZ radio.”
“It’s been a fun transition as we age out 90.1 FM and move to our bigger, broader, louder signal at 89.3,” he added. “I love the station, love all the variety, love the freedom, and it’s a great joy to be able to do this.”
The station’s lead engineer, JV, says he’s the instigator for what KBCZ started as, and is excited to see it get too big for its britches.
“The frequency we were using (90.1) was available, so we decided to do something to put Boulder Creek on the map,” he said. “We see it as a contribution for the Valley, but Boulder Creek is the center, and it’s fantastic that we’ve come so far. There have been a lot of great people that helped put this together, and we’re just proud as punch. After eight years of struggling, it feels like we’ve arrived.”