Solomon Bothwell & KCHUNG Radio"We've lowered the bar."
And then it kind of became their style.
They just kept doing it the way they were doing it. Now, it’s been two years so people can listens to a bunch of things, and see how different people approach it.
The archive is great for that.
If you are willing to put in a little work to figure out how to navigate it you can see the changes in a particular show. You can see how shows spawned other shows.
There are also these weird one off shows that you find.
That's happens when so and so had to stay and extra hour because some other person missed their show, and then this other person showed up and they did this impromptu thing. Those two people never would have done a show together but there it is for one episode. And it’s got a weird name. It’s always pretty cool when that happens. There are these moments where everything kind of mixes together.
KCHUNG is streamed online as well as archived. How important is it that it gets broadcast on analog airwaves as well?
Terrestial broadcasting is important to me but i’m not sure how important it really is for kchung. I think it is part hobby and part obsession. It’s not very practical because your range is limited to Chinatown. You can’t even drive down the freeway and listen. You have to park your car in Chinatown to listen to it.
But you get a kick out of it.
I just like the idea of doing something that’s really happening. It’s really in the air.
Is the organization of KCHUNG informed by anything? Things you’ve read or experienced?
I would say that the organizational structure of the station is definitely informed by the experience I’ve had with political organization and with collective housing. I’ve had some experience with both of those and had things that I liked and things that I really hated about both.
So where did that leave you?
I just didn’t want to create an organization based on a consensus model or anything like that. honestly, i dont think it really works. Maybe if someone were to hear me say that they’d say “that's fucked up,” but, i dont care. it’s just a radio station. It’s not dealing with people’s lives in any serious way. People need to be able to make decisions on their own. It shouldn’t be this big vote from everyone involved for anything to happen.
What is the official status of KCHUNG? You’re not a non-profit, right?
That’s a hot topic right now. Currently we are operating in this weird grey area. We’re not incorporated. We’re not a non-profit, or an LLC. I don’t even know what those things mean, but it’s not any of those things.
Is it just because there is no need?
Well, our overhead in the past has been really low. There was no rent in our first space. The second space was only $200 a month, so it was really easy to raise the money between everyone who was involved. Now we have a new space and more overhead, and more people involved. The ongoing question is how are we gonna raise money? Do we need to step out of the grey area and become something else? I’d rather not be a non-profit, or a for profit, or whatever it is just because it seems like a lot of work. Then again I don’t know. We could get in trouble. I don’t really know how this works. This is all pretty new to me.
We have a PayPal account. Someone volunteered to have it attached to their bank account. We’re on the honor system- we won’t cause problems for that person’s bank account and that person won’t steal the money. Everything else we try to deal with in cash. The whole setup kind of prevents us from raising money, so it’s kind of problematic.
How has KCHUNG impacted your personal life?
Well, I’ve met people through KCHUNG who have become some of my closest friends who I cannot imagine living without. That’s the most important thing for me.
Everyone involved in KCHUNG is doing it because they enjoy it and want to participate. They are genuinely interested because they think it’s fun- not because they can get something out of it. You’re not gonna get a job at a commercial radio station because you’re at KCHUNG. It’s not gonna make your art career. It’s low expectations. It doesn’t really matter if it works or doesn’t work. I don’t know. We’ve lowered the bar.