After five months as interim director, Megan Passmore was officially hired as KDNK’s station manager in late September, just before the community access radio station’s Fall Membership Drive. Having been a Carbondale local since May 2007, and involved with KDNK since 2009 when she filled in for a DJ’s Halloween show, Passmore is looking forward to carrying forth the beloved station’s traditions.
“Originally, when I came here, I was working for CRMS [Colorado Rocky Mountain School] in their garden program, which was great because it felt like I had found an instant community,” Passmore told The Sopris Sun. “I realized quickly that this was seasonal and would quickly end, so I started finding new ways to get involved with the community.”
When her position at CRMS ended, Passmore began exploring community volunteering opportunities. She first got involved with Carbondale Arts and Mountain Fair before joining KDNK as a DJ and member.
“I grew up in Boulder, which has KGNU, and it took me a while to figure out that there was actually a public radio station here in Carbondale! Once I did, I started tuning in regularly and quickly came in for a DJ training,” she reminisced.
Shortly after her first show, Passmore was hired by Steve Skinner, station manager at the time, to work as a membership director in 2010. She held that position until 2015 before taking a six-year hiatus to raise her child. Passmore’s full-circle return to KDNK in 2022 was meant to be temporary, filling in while an employee took maternity leave. Being back in the KDNK studios on 2nd Street, she explained, “I realized I had missed the station so much and was trying to figure out how to stay.” As the stars would have it, “My colleague on maternity leave decided not to return, so I stayed on.”
Since stepping up to the plate as interim director, Passmore has taken on some of the biggest responsibilities of the year at KDNK, including the two-year audit and a record-setting membership drive goal: $88,100 (after the station’s spot on the FM dial from its primary signal on Sunlight Peak). Discussing her new role as KDNK’s station manager, Passmore said that while the process has been overwhelming at times, she is able to lean on the guidance and wisdom of her colleagues and past station managers.
“There’s a lot of pieces to the puzzle of running a radio station, some I was aware of and some found out through trial and error. It’s a big job,” she stated. Passmore explained she feels she is
“standing on the shoulders of giants” as she stewards the 40-year legacy of KDNK. She felt inspired during the station’s recent 40th birthday celebration, where important people from KDNK’s past and present came together to share stories.
“The vibrancy of KDNK, us being so involved in the community, having the community come in through the doors all the time — it’s a fun environment and certainly something I’m passionate about,” Passmore said.
She is grateful to all the members, volunteers and KDNK staff for achieving a record membership drive total in just two weeks, something she described as “a pretty awesome feat.”
She said, “I was so proud of the staff and the station once that wrapped up. When we have membership drives, hearing the community’s feedback about the station and the reasons why they love KDNK so much motivates me to continue in this role.”
KDNK’s next big fundraising push is the Labor of Love Auction in December. An in-person location for the event is yet to be determined, but folks can tune in, call in and even place bids online for a plethora of items in different categories, including art, culture, food, wine, recreation, music, entertainment and more. Item donations for the event are currently being sought and are highly appreciated.
On the topic of KDNK’s overall role in the community, Passmore said that the thought of Carbondale not having an outlet like KDNK saddens her. She expressed, “KDNK is such a vibrant and unique way for people to be connected to one another. Everyone that tunes in is listening to the same music and listening to the same stories. It’s almost like we’re all on the same wavelength.”
Keep an ear out for volunteer and job opportunities at the station by tuning in, visiting www.kdnk.org or calling 970-963-0139.