A Year Later, Checking in with Deep Ellum Radio's Kim Keebler (and her DER partner, Chad Lovell)
Local Music 'Mericans officially debuted on November 16, 2010. Close enough for rock and roll, as far as some sort of an anniversary commemeration is concerned, right?
Our first LMA subject last November was Kim Keebler. Keebler spent most of her childhood in Deep Ellum, and now divides her time between three main projects: motherhood, In Accord, her art & music shop on main on Main, and deepellumradio.com, which has now been chuggin along just under a year, and has featured music, guest DJs, and local media well-knowns from around the neighborhood.
Deep Ellum Radio was no easy project to get off the ground, neither is scheduling and coordinating programs and commiting jocks to come in and do a shift, much less promoting powerfully enough to really be heard. And far from being ones to mince words, Keebler doesn't deny for a second that, although they launched and broadcasted, Deep Ellum Radio could certainly use a supportive hand at this point.
So, we thought checking back in would be a great idea; not only with our inaugural subject, but with her partner as well: former Course of Empire musician Chad Lovell; another subject from early in our column's history.
After the jump, we'll talk to both to see how things are going so far.
So, it's been a year since we interviewed you, Kim. Catch us up! How goes the store? How goes the station?
KK: Thank you, Ayo, for that first interview. As you know, In Accord is a place for local artists to have a store front to present their art and wares, and In Accord is a fair trade store. Basically, I just wanted to provide a place where artists can have an equal voice and a chance at honest commerce. I enjoy meeting the diverse artists that Dallas has to offer. Dallas has some amazing artists.
Has progress on Deep Ellum Radio moved at the pace you thought it would a year ago?
CL: Well as you know for your years in radio, yeah, it's a lot of work. When we first started working on this, it was a format that I was not technically entrenched in. I was asked by Kim to help her out with her dream. I had some ideas based upon years of audio engineering experience and a love of radio, so I agreed to help out. As you also know, the first of the year was tragic personally, including the loss of my sister. The sideline of the personal tragedies affected all of us deeply, and made it very hard to strive forward into the unknown. But we did go live one week after my sisters passing. Kim and I felt we had to reach a positive in the shadow of death. We needed to find some light and affirmation of life. Deep Ellum Radio was a way up for both of us to find a positive with what we could try to affect. We have been fortunate to have amazing local talent work with us, and I can't thank everybody who volunteered their time and talent enough.
KK: Deep Ellum Radio uses Live365 as a platform. It costs $250 a month. We have not asked for money. We have promoted local only bands and businesses. Times are tough, and we are looking now at asking local businesses to advertise, but for the last year, it's been ad free. We wanted to play what we wanted to hear, and allow our on air talent to play what they wanted to play free of commitments.
The main site was temporarily down recently. Was this due to a need for support? I'm hoping the need for funds hasn't reached that point!
KK: The main web site was down because my credit card was stolen. I didn't remember to update the automatic payment with the new number in time. No conspiracy. I have updated it and all is good. It was never a matter of non-funds, simply a technicality.
What are some of the the further goals the station still hopes to attain?
CL: Well, the original idea still is the main idea. We wanted to help present Deep Ellum as the fantastic community of original and inventive people that it is. I don't think either of us think in terms of further goals. It's not about us. It's about the people and artists we work with and love. They, not us, guide the future.
Who have been some of the most supportive folks so far?
KK: My dad has obviously allowed me to be here. He's always sharpening my steel, so to speak, and loves Deep Ellum. Frank Campagna is a big supporter! I love his advice and love him for everything he gives to us. My four sons, who speak their minds on it all. Chad, You, everybody has great advice and criticism, and I listen to people I love. The idea of the shop is not something that has been proven before, its' a cultural experiment. I strive and work to see what it can be. As far as Deep Ellum Radio goes, it's always been a positive conversation with people in the neighborhood. I just wanted to give back what I have received from great and caring people.
Having to pause progress to raise funds can be a strain on morale in radio! Have you taken cues from what KKXT 91.7-FM has to go through periodically to ask for help to keep the bills paid?
It's a volunteer station. Nobody has made a dime that works here for themselves. It has always been an endeavor of love. Have we learned how to make it better? I think so. I am about to reformat the station in the next few months, and I think listeners will appreciate the changes. Now that I have learned how to utilize the network to it's fullest, I think we will provide a better voice to our community. KKXT is amazing. But we are different in that we are not earning a 9-5 paycheck. I don't show up at 8 am to work on the daily feed. It's my free time I put in. Same goes for all people involved. I am focused on using the technology to provide a voice for a niche group, and to provide a positive voice for the creative minds and local businesses in Deep Ellum.
What are you looking for as far as support from the fundraiser?
KK: Well, fundraiser sounds like we are going down. We're not. But, we have spent about $3,500 of our own money learning the business and promoting local businesses and 24/7 promotion of the best local bands DFW has to offer. We have not been in the business of making money off of anybody, it's literally been a labor of love. However, in these tough economic times, we are hoping that we can gain some help from locals to offset the expense in the name of art. I believe that anybody who knows either of us, knows that we are in it for all of our well beings!