KZSM–From the vintage heart of San Marcos
Our 24/7 KZSM.org broadcasts extend all over the world, but they emanate from the heart of San Marcos. Our studio occupies a vintage storefront half a block off the square at 216 North Guadalupe. The space has been many things, most recently an audio/video studio. The mixer, microphones, speakers, and computers that put out our signal share space with an impressive collection of antique radios, cameras, and recorders, along with hundreds of vinyl recordings. Posters celebrate bands that have performed in the studio or at one of our Kissing Alley concerts. Window displays often change with the seasons; we have had mermaids, ghosts and goblins, a huge stuffed Garfield, and now a 6-foot teddy bear who loves radio and refuses to leave.
Some program hosts report another lingering occupant, Willy the ghost. This presence earned his name because he made himself felt during the song “Little Willy” by Sweet. Our ghost seems friendly, but sometimes there is an eerie loneliness to the deserted street, especially in inclement weather. When we had recent hail and damaging winds roar through late at night, we were able to watch from inside the studio looking out onto Guadalupe.
During the day and evening, the street comes alive with people of all ages, rushing or sauntering as the mood takes them. At times, passers-by pause to listen to our talk shows or dance to our music. More recently they’ve been chasing bubbles from the machine in front of the charming, eclectic Daughter of the Wild shop next door.
One curious stroller with a guitar was invited in to perform on another live music show, with mixed results. “We’ll never do that again,” the host vowed. We also have families stop by on their walks around downtown. If no shows are being recorded, the kids can come around to the booth and get their pictures taken. If the kids are brave enough, we will have them record a quick station ID!
“Metal Mark” Moniz, a 7-year veteran program host, sometimes extends our performance space to the sidewalk during his Thursday 10-p.m.-midnight broadcasts. Memorable “Metal on the Sidewalk” performers include
the El Cucuy, Ledesma Lethal Legends, and the band Trejo. The second Thursday of this month, Fear of Buckethead will perform outside the studio.
As Station Manager Rob Roark puts it, at KZSM. org, “we are the eyes and ears of downtown.”