KNON plays one of the most eclectic music mixes in Texas, from Cajun to Ethiopian, Reggae to punk. The small non-profit broadcast from studios off Central Expressway, just north of Royal. Until last Sunday. General Manager Dave Chaos told me that he was home watching the Cowboys game, when he saw reports of a tornado heading straight for the radio station. (You can click above to listen to our conversation that aired on KERA FM.)
Yeah, the DJ on at that time was Chief Zehaie, right? And he plays music from Eritrea on his program.
So, I got ahold of Chief and asked him to take shelter in our break room and explained to him, there’s a tornado looks like its heading toward the station. And I guess he didn’t, because I got a call later from someone saying, “Not only is the power out, but now the studio windows have all blown in.”
And I got that call at 10. That was Spicoli, the DJ who was going on after Chief. And he had gone in the studio and found Chief still in the studio. He pulled him out and they both went down to the bathroom for shelter right as the tornado hit.
So we were real fortunate nobody was hurt. But the windows got blown out. The studio pretty much got blown away.
That must have been terrifying for them.
It was close. It was close for our guys. But the important thing is everyone was okay. And now we have to clean up.
But you’re back on the air.
KNON is mostly run by volunteers. All the DJs are volunteers. Why are they so dedicated to the station?
It’s times like these you can just see how amazing their passion and love for the music they play is. Because, times like this, they’re driving out to Cedar Hill, to sit in a little room, with a lot of spiders, and broadcast from a little board with eight channels.
What’s next for the station?
And the next thing was to get cleared out of the building, because the landlord had to condemn the building and board it up and get us out because it wasn’t safe.
And um, at the crack of dawn, I’m looking at someplace to go right now.
How long have you been at this?
This has got to be the biggest challenge that you’ve faced.
And have Chief and Spicoli been back on the air yet?