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Tuning in to Bellingham’s KZAX radio station

New location allows radio station to expand programming options

KZAX Station Manager Hattie Bakke puts on headphones Friday, March 29 in the station's new studio. (Finn Wendt/Cascadia Daily News)
By Jesse Stanton CDN Contributor

Deep in the basement of the Bellingham National Bank building on Holly Street is a surprising spot for a creative powerhouse. KZAX is a non-commercial, low power radio station that acts as a branch of the Make.Shift organization.

They’ve just relocated into that new space and brought on a new general manager, so they’re in an exciting moment of growth. Whether you’re a listener, musician, podcaster or even a potential DJ, they’ve got a ton of exciting ways for people to get involved.

The station broadcasts at 94.9 FM, at kzaxradio.org, or via the TuneIn app. Right now, their programming is primarily a mix of syndicated news programs like Democracy Now or the BBC, and locally produced music programs. They also have a few syndicated music programs, including one from Chuck D of Public Enemy.

During times when they don’t have a host or a syndicated program, KZAX broadcasts an automated mix heavy on local music. They also broadcast local podcasts including “Shut Up and Listen,” about local music, and “Young and Indigenous,” a podcast put together by Children of the Setting Sun Productions which documents the experience of young Indigenous people in the community. They’ve even got some great locally produced music shows, like Mike Nardone spinning hip-hop vinyl at 6 p.m. on Sundays.

CDs line a shelf in the KZAX studio. (Finn Wendt/Cascadia Daily News)

With their move into the new space, KZAX has more production space available, which they’re hoping to use to expand their range of offerings. For one thing, they’d like to do more public affairs programming, including live talk shows.

New general manager Hattie Bakke is also excited about the possibility of getting some younger folks involved with the station, especially high schoolers. She’s hoping to set up a program to get a cohort of students trained and on the air, either sharing music or doing public affairs programs. 

KZAX also has the capacity to record and broadcast live performances, so musicians who might be interested should reach out. For now, it would just be for acoustic performances, but they’re hoping to be able to do full band shows later down the line. Musicians who are looking for airplay can send their music to the station online using the Get Involved tab on their website, or send in physical media to Make.Shift’s address (306 Flora St.). They are eager to get local musicians on the radio as much as possible.

In short, these changes mean there’s plenty of opportunity for music lovers and other community-minded folks to have their voices heard — and for listeners to enjoy great programming created right here in Bellingham. Tune in to hear what’s going on!

News

Cabaret-folk ensemble Three for Silver have a very cool new video out for their song “These Laughing Bones,” with some recognizable Bellingham locations in it. Their music is pretty cinematic already so it only makes sense for them to do a video with some story to it. 


The Mount Vernon Tulip Festival is spinning off the music side of things into a separate event they’re calling Tulip Tunes. They will have a stage in downtown Mount Vernon from April 19–21 with music running all day long. They haven’t announced the whole lineup yet, but The Enthusiasts will be headlining Friday night, and their high-energy folk-rock is a great choice for a gathering of this kind.

[ Jesse Stanton’s weekly picks and other live shows in Whatcom County from April 5–14, 2024 ]

Jesse Stanton's music column, The Beat Goes On, and his compilation list of live music events in Whatcom County appear weekly. Reach him at jsbhammusic@gmail.com; @JSBhamMusic. Check with individual venues to make sure events are still taking place as scheduled.

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