The design for KZMU’s 2020 Radiothon promotional shirts, created by Laurel Hagen. [courtesy photo]

While listeners tuning into Moab’s community radio station have kept hearing the same locally curated music and news as ever, behind the scenes the KZMU staff has been working overtime to make sure the station functions well and safely.

The station closed its doors to its crew of volunteer DJs on March 16 as the serious threat of the coronavirus pandemic was becoming clear. Station Manager Serah Mead remembers sending an email to the DJs, then immediately wondering how the radio station could really function with no live DJs.

After a lot of remote technical support, many of KZMU’s best-loved music shows are back on air as DJs learn to record shows from their own homes. KZMU’s News and Public Affairs department, headed by Molly Marcello, has adjusted as well.

Marcello commented that listeners had reached out to the station with thanks for the information about local resources and safety protocols.

Still, one crucial piece of the puzzle was missing: how can KZMU hold their yearly Radiothon fundraiser during the pandemic restrictions?

“How the heck do we pull off a major fundraiser that relies on the spontaneity and thrill of live pitching and community connections?” said Mead.

The fundraiser isn’t just a public relations event, but an essential piece of financial stability for the station’s services.

“The role of independent, grassroots, community-funded public media has always been important, but in times when we are separated from fellow community members in this way, it becomes so apparent just how crucial community radio is,” said Mead.

The Radiothon generally relies on live DJs at the station doing real-time updates on how fundraising is going, volunteers staffing tables at City Market to speak to listeners and ask for support and other practices that just don’t quite work right now.

“We’ve shifted our efforts,” said Mead, commenting that donations will be accepted this year in many ways: online or via mail, text or drop-off at the station. This year’s promotional items will be available online at, including a 2020 Spring Radiothon design by local artist Laurel Hagen.

“KZMU DJs are pre-recording special Radiothon shows from home,” said Mead, so listeners will still get their on-air fix.

KZMU’s Music Director Josie Kovash said she is inspired by how everyone involved is able to adapt. “I have never been so proud to be part of community radio,” she said, “Music is indeed a powerful cure for what ails us, a way through, and the light illuminating what’s on the other side.”

When: Friday, May 1st – Saturday, May 9th

Call (435) 259-5968 or 259-8824

Donate securely online at

Text “givekzmu” to 44321

Send a check or cash to KZMU at P.O. Box 1076 in Moab

KZMU’s Radiothon kicks off May 1