Radio DJ “Bad Brad” Wheeler did not question the request for a second when he was asked to marry a couple. He spent the next two weeks becoming a certified reverend and met the couple at the altar as Reverend Wheeler.
DJs at KRCL 90.9, like Bad Brad, are not the only unique part of the local station. The station plays distinct music and advocate for causes not heard on other stations.
KRCL 90.9 is a nonprofit, member-supported public station that has been dedicated to broadcasting “a well-curated, contemporary, eclectic mix of music and community information 24 hours a day” for the past 35 years.
Local artists: KRCL’s bread and butter
KRCL believes in playing local music to enrich the community and give local bands exposure. Provo bands like Desert Noises, Parlor Hawk and Westward the Tide are regulars on the station and are played throughout the day.
Provo-based band Temples has been featured multiple times on the station’s psychedelic rock night, Thursday Night Physchout.
“KRCL is a tremendous help to everyone involved in local music,” said Chris Andreasen, Temples bassist. “If a DJ likes your music, they’ll play it and share it with everybody. When our songs are on the radio, we get Facebook messages from people who listened and loved it. They get directed to our Spotify, then our Bandcamp page, and then they’ll buy our music.”
KRCL can play local artists like this because it is independently owned and member-supported.
A community-funded program also means no commercials.
“We don’t have to play music that entices the listener to stick around while we play ads,” said Eugenie Jaff, daytime DJ. “We are entirely funded by locals who donate to our cause because they believe in good music and community unity just like we do.”
DJs additionally play a mix of alternative, independent and local music crossing generations, like members from Passion Pit, Death Cab for Cutie and Led Zeppelin.
Diverse music programs to suit anybody
KRCL plays music returned missionaries and international students can get behind: sets of music from around the globe.
Music ranges in geographic origin and culture from Polynesia, to China, to Africa. Returned missionaries can reconnect with their missions through the traditional music that doesn’t get played many other places.
Programs include an all-Polynesian hour on Sundays, Chinese Radio curated by a young Chinese-American DJ named Jen, who speaks Chinese throughout the entire set, and World Village, an all-international mix of music from around the globe.
There is an additional program for every music lover on KRCL, whether they be into mo-town, reggae, hardcore metal or women-based rock groups.
“I especially enjoy Eugenie’s set, Twelve O’Clock Women Who Rock,” said Tasha Christensen, a BYU graduate. “I used to be more of a pop radio girl, but now I usually stick to KRCL because it actually offers me interesting, unique content.
Twelve O’Clock Women Who Rock highlights classic to contemporary female artists across genres including musicians such as Cher, Pat Benetar and Santigold.
Connecting to the community
The second half of KRCL’s mission is to be a resource to the community in the greater Salt Lake area.
“We were founded 35 years ago with the intent to become a true community asset,” said Vicki Mann, the station’s general manager. “We really do believe radio can create positive change.”
KRCL’s primary way of promoting positive change is by airing three-minute vignettes every hour, highlighting issues facing Utah. Issues include air quality, climate change, equal rights, political change and more.
“Our mission is to make sure people in the community are heard and that the issues the community is facing are discussed,” Mann said.
KRCL gets involved in local events, like Salt Lake City Bike Week, the Twilight Concert Series and “Lifty of the Week,” which recognizes lift operators at local ski resorts who are committed to their jobs.
“Having a decent public-access radio station is huge,” said Josh Armantrout, a KRCL fan and mechanical engineering graduate. “It’s a very healthy thing for the community, local musicians, and it’s a huge asset to have in the state of Utah.”