Thomas Snider is co-founder and general manager of KWNK, a free-form community radio station.
KWNK, on 97.7 FM from 4 p.m. to 4 a.m., is a free-form community radio station with roots in Wolf Pack Radio, the University of Nevada, Reno’s student radio station (see “No static at all” Arts & Culture, Oct. 26). We checked in with Thomas Snider, the station’s co-founder and general manager, about how things have been going since the station launched this Halloween.
You’ve been working on this for a long time. How does it feel that it’s finally come to fruition?
It’s amazing. It’s hard to express because it’s something that all of us—myself, the Holland Project, the Reno Bike Project—we’ve been working on this for a long time, as you know from the interview back in [2015—“Sound salvation,” feature story, April 23, 2015] when we really first started in this journey. So it feels great to finally get on the air and get the ball rolling. … It’s been going great. The people who have come in to record shows, the people who have reached out that want to be a part of it—that’s been really fun for me. We’re getting all sides. There are so many different people within our community that have such different taste in music and different things to say. … We had a podcast workshop at the Holland Project on Sunday and had over 30 people show up that are trying to host a show, do weekly segments, things like that. It’s an inclusive project that’s bringing together a community. I’m meeting new people I’ve never met before. …
Give me a couple of examples.
Probably the most exciting thing to me has been getting some of the Wolf Pack Radio shows on the air, such as “D.E.P.T.H.”—that’s a big one. That’s Brian Jørgensen, he’s a PhD candidate at the university. He was on Wolf Pack Radio with me.
What’s the music been like? Every time I’ve turned it on, it’s been different.
It’s the nature of free-form radio that you’re going to get a lot of variety in the mix of music. One of the other shows I’m really excited about is Leah [Ruby] and Liz [Peto], and they have all these 7-inch records and the show is them organizing these 7-inch records. To me, that’s a really fun show. … With free-form radio, sometimes you’re going to tune in and hear something you don’t like, but the reaction I’ve heard so far has been really positive.
Is anyone doing shows that aren’t music?
Yes, we do. The focus is on music, but we have talk in shorter segments. That would be two-to-three minute segments of talk. … [One] show we have is by Angelo Sante, another example of a talk segment, is called the Cycle Spoke. He interviews local cyclists and he goes on a bike ride with them and has them bring in five to 10 songs, and he does a little interview. He talks about their cycling experiences in Reno, what got them into cycling, and they play a little music. It’s a cool show.
This is something that we’ve followed since it was just an idea that y’all had at Wolf Pack Radio years ago. [Former Wolf Pack Radio director and Holland Project curator] Van Pham was talking about that years ago.
You bringing up Van is an important thing. … There are a lot of people who have part of this project. Van helped provide the framework to make this possible. For us, it’s really important that someone like Van gets the recognition she deserves. There have been a lot of people who helped, and we were finally able to get the stars to align.