KDVS entryway

Call Letters
KDVS-FM "K-Davis"
Studio: 14 Lower Freeborn Hall, UC Davis Memorial Union
Transmitter: Kerr Hall
Transmitter Power
(530) 752-2777 Request line
(530) 752-0728 Business line
Web Site
[email protected]
Staff Member directory

Licensed by the FCC to provide non-commercial, educational Radio to the Yolo County, northern Solano County, and Sacramento County community, KDVS plays everything from punk to jazz to rare psych/garage-rock to music of Middle Eastern folk traditions and experimental and as-yet-unclassified music of yet-to-be-named-genres; weekday programming also features no less than 2.5 hours of news and public affairs such as political talk shows, Free Speech Radio News, and Pacifica Network's Democracy Now with Amy Goodman. To find out what's playing on KDVS right now, check the complete schedule of shows.

"Freeform radio" is a boundless format wherein variety is a constant; furthermore, freeform radio principles strictly insist that full creative programming control be given to hosts and DJ's. No program director or station brass may interfere with the music choices selected by each DJ. That KDVS's playlists primarily feature obscure, underground, and independent music artists and bands is a result of unified adherence to a mission statement that values the station's role as a true alternative: KDVS exists to provide music and public affairs which listeners cannot get anywhere else in the local community. If mainstream media only exposes one percent of all new music, KDVS's job will be to expose as much of the remaining 99% as possible.

The freedom of the freeform radio format is often used by DJ's to build bridges within the listening community. Eclectic programs expose music from various (often disparate) cultures and subcultures, blended in a logical manner which shows the listener the links and similarities between these diverse expressions, and thereby adding educational value.

Most radio listeners require a great deal of predictability, but freeform radio has carved out a niche—to satisfy those individuals who demand more variety and prefer to seek out what is new or has been overlooked. But, as you might guess, upon tuning in you either love it or flip it. Occasionally, you are confused and uncertain, but if you are patient and open-minded, it may not be long before something pulls you in, and that something is the essence of KDVS.

KDVS has the second or third largest vinyl collection in California, rivaled only by some loner guy in San Francisco and perhaps KZSU at Stanford University. Neither KDVS or KZSU has been successful in counting each and every record and CD they have compiled, so this issue remains a point of contention (albeit a point of friendly contention).

KDVS also publishes a quarterly programming guide called KDViationS, featuring the programming schedule, program descriptions, interviews with musical artists, record and CD reviews, columns, and occasionally entertaining lists and poetry. KDViationS is distributed throughout the Sacramento Valley at record stores and coffeehouses, plus many campus locations. You're not likely to see naked KDVS people in the program guide very often:


KDVS Soundsystem: unit is a DJing service for your party dance, prom or event! Contact [email protected]

Public Service Announcements KDVS PSA's are announcements that are played 2 to 3 times an hour on KDVS. If you'd like to promote your upcoming event, club or show, just write up a script for our voice artists at least two weeks before the event. Email [email protected] for more info.

Sponsorships & Underwriting If your business is interested in Underwriting KDVS programming, please contact their Underwriting Director at [email protected] It's a great way to promote your business and support freeform, community radio.

Music Review for Airplay The Music Department reviews 100's of CDs and records on a weekly basis. They accept donations of music or submissions from bands. Just send CDs/vinyl/cassettes/CDR's for review addressed to KDVS Music DEPT (Genre). Submissions are not guaranteed to be approved for airplay and may take up to 4 weeks to add to the library. Contact music directors at [email protected]

Live In-studio Sessions KDVS hosts local and touring bands to play live on the air every Thursday night on a program called Live in Studio A. Bands who want to be considered to play can send demos addressed c/o L.I.S.A or e-mail [email protected]

Davis Radio Theater" Davis Radio Theater (a.k.a. KDVS Radio Theater) produces original audio plays at KDVS and airs them on Tuesday nights. An all-volunteer cast, consisting of station personnel, dramatic art fans, Sacramento folk and migrant ne'er-do-wells, perform in a variety of genres. Most plays are recorded in Studio A; occasionally some are performed live on the air. Davis Radio Theater, winner of the Ogle Award, is directed by Les Light.

KDVS Recordings KDVS*R is presumably the only University-sponsored nonprofit record label in the country. Started in Summer 2006, it releases LPs of primarily local bands.

Don't forget the KDVS Record Swap!


Rocking the airwaves since February 1, 1967, KDVS 90.3 FM is one of four thriving full-time freeform community radio stations in the United States (others include WFMU in New Jersey, WESU in Connecticut, and WZRD in Chicago), and of those four, KDVS is the most powerful at 9200 watts. Its signal is strong enough to reach from parts of the North SF Bay Area to the crest of the northern Sierra Nevada. When KDVS first started as KCD (880 AM) it was nothing more than a small transmitter in the laundry room of Residence Halls" Beckett Hall, which used the dorm's electrical wiring to transmit.

In 1996 (?) KDVS was off the air for two weeks. Mark Chang took over the air waves during this time and broadcast live from his house.

General Managers

  • 2012-present Renner Burkle

  • 2010-2012 Neil Ruud

  • 2009-2010 Kevin Corrigan

  • 2007-2009 Ben Johnson

  • 2006-2007 Drake Martinet

  • 2004-2006 Steven Valentino

  • 2003-2004 Teresa Kenny

  • 2002-2003 Paul Schramski

  • 2001-2002 Liz Berg


Freeform KDVS's legacy reaches much further than its broadcast range; consider two of this city's most famous musical exports, Michael Franti and DJ Shadow. Both grew up listening to KDVS and were exposed to the many genres of music regularly played on the air, and each grew up to become musicians who mixed diverse sets of influences to create unique artistic visions that have become successful in creating diverse legacies. Franti's first band, the Beatnigs, mixed punk rock, industrial music, funk, and Afrobeat influences with messages of African-American political consciousness-raising. A palpable punk and industrial flavor was still evident in his next band, the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy. Finally, with Spearhead, Franti broke through to mainstream audiences and played a large role in the proliferation of jazz-based hip hop and more consciousness-raising.

Shadow, a former KDVS DJ, combined hip hop with applications of electronic music (even relating to musique concrete) including unprecedented applications of sampling, recontextualizing music from genres such as hardcore punk and psych/acid-rock. The immediate result was a spark in interest of "record digging," wherein hip hop, house, and techno DJ's plundered stacks of used vinyl records looking for the most obscure and overlooked breaks and beats. DJ Shadow's own wide perspective of music became contagious.

As one of the first radio stations to broadcast on the internet, KDVS expanded its reputation and influence to far corners of the planet; and despite rules against archiving radio broadcasts, KDVS has followed the lead of WFMU in archiving its programs at its website to allow listeners everywhere to listen more selectively. Through their web presence, KDVS has firmly established itself among an elite handful of radio stations nationally—and even internationally—when it comes to exposing important, challenging, and under-exposed new music as well as revealing forgotten nuggets of the past.

Many KDVS staff also play significant roles in bringing live music to the community through their promoting and organizing efforts. That an underground music scene exists at all in Davis and Sacramento is possibly only because of KDVS.

Getting Involved

Anyone can be a DJ if they volunteer. Attend one of the volunteer meetings and you're ready to work at the station. To have your own show, you have to volunteer 50 hours (unless you have a co-host, in which case you split your hours). There are always plenty to do at the station. The most popular job may be censoring new music, which gets you exposed to new, exciting (most times) obscure bands. DJs are required to volunteer at least 40 hours per quarter, in addition to their shows. But even if you are not an on-air personality, there's plenty of behind the scenes work that goes on, including: Website, Programming, Office, Production, Publicity, Music Department. For more information, see the KDVS volunteer page.


KDVS holds a week-long fundraiser during spring quarter of each year. All donations are tax-deductible, and you get sweet gifts for doing it (T-shirts, CD packages, compilations made by DJs, ability to host your own show for one hour, ordering a DJ for a dance party, recording time in the studio). For more info go to The Official Fundraiser Page.