These days, terrestrial radio isn’t the first place most would turn in search of new or obscure music. But this weekend—all day Friday and Saturday—fans of the spacey sounds of modern psychedelic music, will be tuning into KFJC, Foothill College’s radio station, as it will be broadcasting live from the Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia in the United Kingdom.
KFJC’s low-wattage frequency (89.7 FM) can be hard to get a fix on—especially for those outside of the South Bay. Yet, even while the station broadcasts at a frequency that is dwarfed by the major commercial radio outlets in the Bay Area, KFJC works hard to punch above its weight class, by delivering programming, like the live broadcast of the psych festival, that listeners can’t get anywhere else.
According to Eric Johnson, general manager at KFJC, broadcasting the psych fest is likely to be the radio station’s largest undertaking to date. They’ve covered events in Japan and New Zealand—both further away than Liverpool—but this time around they’ll be doing much more than they have in the past.
“It’s pretty huge,” he says, noting that KFJC will capture live sound at three individual stages, conduct artist interviews and stream live high definition video of the festival, some of which will be cached for repeat viewing.
In spite of the challenges posed by the broadcast, Johnson says he is “confident” that the station and the team of six heading across the pond will be able to handle it. More than that, he is “looking forward to it.”
That’s because he and the rest of the staff at KFJC—along with the student DJs—feel the work they are doing is important.
Johnson, who has been at KFJC since 1991, says he doesn’t know anything about commercial radio, and it’s pretty clear he doesn’t care to learn.
“I think it’s kind of been a mission of college radio to be an alternative to mainstream,” he says. “We’re looking to sort of satisfy folks who get a little tired of the formulated stuff out there. We’re looking to draw attention to bands that may not otherwise get attention.”
The bands playing at the Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia include: Goats, Woods, Allah-Las, Suuns, White Hills and Amen Dunes, among many more.
Bringing KFJC listeners live performances of these artists is equally as important to Johnson. “There are things that happen live that just don’t happen in the studio,” he says. “Live, sometimes, is far more amazing than studio.”
The Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia will be broadcast live on KFJC, 89.7 FM, from 6am-7pm on Sept. 26 & 27. Live streaming audio and video will be available at kfjc.org. Watch San Francisco’s Allah-Las below.