Thursday, February 6, 2014

KDHX in Grand Center

KDHX 88.1 FM, St. Louis' community radio station since 1987 has recently moved from it's humble studio on Magnolia Avenue in the Tower Grove East neighborhood to a spectacular new facility in Grand Center.

From this:


To this:



Inspired by the new sign that was recently installed on the building, I really wanted to see what the new studios were like and what they were able to do with the building.  I am a freak for bold, artistic signage...it is big city...and I love the new KDHX sign, which utilizes parts of the Sun Theatre sign that used to adorn the front of that building.  I had to see the inside after appreciating the street view.

The Sun is currently under renovation for use by the Grand Center Arts Academy and the sign was not original, so it was removed.  This is just another phase of the continuing excitement and momentum in this beautiful neighborhood of Covenant Blu/Grand Center.


The "rays" were repurposed and incorporated into the KDHX sign and rumor has it the "Sun" metal and neon portion of the sign will be repurposed and installed on the Folk School of KDHX building, just down the street at 3323 Washington Avenue.



I contacted a neighbor of mine, Spencer Musselman, a DJ at KDHX on Saturday nights to see if I could get a tour:
Spencer puts a bounce in your step with Groove Grease, a full-throttle tour of raw funk, rare grooves, and African and Latin beats that will propel you late into the night. That's Groove Grease, every Saturday night from 11 until 1am.
Spencer was able to hook me up with a personal tour hosted by Chris Bay, DJ of Gold Soundz, one of my current favorites:
Not all that glitters is gold, but you can rely on Chris to separate the sonic gems from the rest. Tune in for a wide range of pop, rock and neo-folk, both old and new, and you'll find yourself with the urge to go back to those gold sounds again and again.
Chris was a gracious host and tour guide taking me through the various areas of the building including the staff offices, studios, recording space, the Stage performance area and the Magnolia Cafe (the name a tribute to the former space on Magnolia Avenue).

The studios are top shelf with the latest technology.




There are state of the art recording rooms for the DJs and show hosts to do production for their sets.



The live performance recording studio was designed to avoid right angles in the room and as a result has slightly off kilter lines that provide for a great sound and an interesting look.

 kit already set up and ready to go for traveling bands


I am so energized by all the changes and can't wait to see a performance at the Stage.  I understand that Pokey LaFarge recently did a show here recently and the sound was reported to be impeccable.


The space is welcoming and warm seating 144 people.





The space is intimate, yet very appealing for musicians.  The stage is ADA accessible (as is the entire building) and there is a cozy green room for privacy.



KDHX will be screening music related documentaries and movies in the Stage, as a full retractable screen was installed.


There is much more space for the vast collection of vinyl and CDs.



The staff has more room to spread out and the offices were designed to be wide open and welcoming with lots of natural light.





turnbuckles brace a section of the building

The best thing about this new building is it's a place I want to hang out.  I want to be here and listen to the shows I like (playing in the cafe) and enjoy a sandwich and a cold one and talk music.  Chris mentioned an event called "40s and 45s" held on Tuesdays in the Magnolia Cafe where you bring your favorite vinyl for listening, sip on a local beer, and talk music with your friends.  I can relate to this on every level and will be there.

The Magnolia Cafe will open soon, with coffee, tea, local craft brews on tap and food.





The decor in the cafe is awesome with red "records" on the wall commemorating donors.  There are amazing accents in the room, like a re-purposed fireproof projectionist room door from the Sun that are now tables and really cool bowling alley hardware from the Sun's 3-alley lanes re-imagined into a chandelier by the folks from Salvage City.





How many radio stations can you just hangout at and talk music and drink and socialize?  This stuff is happening in St. Louis.


Thanks Spencer!

Thanks Chris!

If you want to support KDHX, you can become a member by clicking HERE.  The community is growing and the results are yours to take part in.  There are no space constrictions, no medium untouched, no barriers.  KDHX seems stronger than ever and the future is bright.

I am so happy to see radio survive the Internet age.  Growing up in KDHX's reach, it was a beacon of hope for weirdo's and music fans sick of KSHE and the stifling, horrible 1980s popular airwaves.  I owe much of my soul and love of art and music to KDHX...and my heart is filled with joy to know they are surviving...growing...on the cutting edge...in my city.

1 comment:

Adam said...

awesome, awesome, awesome.

i wonder what'll become of their beautiful ex-space on Magnolia. love that building. would make a great mixed use renovation–residential on top and retail on the bottom.