The broadcast of the KOTO festival is back on the air | New

For the second weekend in a row, community radio KOTO will broadcast the Telluride Bluegrass Festival live from Telluride Town Park. It wouldn’t necessarily be news if it weren’t for the fact that last summer, not thanks to the raging COVID-19 pandemic, lively – and live – festival programming from the non-commercial radio station and nonprofit was scuttled with the rest of the summer. festivals. But it’s been back since last weekend, the first of two back-to-back weekends marking the blessed return of live music to the park.

Much like the festival itself, coverage is reduced this time around – by the size of its team, shorter festival days and fewer live interviews with artists on stage. And, out of respect for the live broadcast of Planet Bluegrass’ musical festivities, the broadcast is on terrestrial radio, not its stream, allowing only listeners within reach of the KOTO airwaves to hear the music and put it on. end to jokes. (Festival director Craig Ferguson donates the proceeds from the live broadcast to KOTO and other local nonprofits.)

KOTO News Director Julia Caulfield leads the team. She considers herself lucky for, well, everything – the return of live music, the resumption of in-person social contacts and to be able to send the festival to local homes and workplaces.

“I’ve said it many times last weekend, but the energy is so palpable. Everyone is so excited to be there, ”said Caulfield. “Obviously we’re in the park all weekend, but when you hear clips from the show it’s such a heartwarming sound. Listening to live music on the radio is something I guess I didn’t realize I missed so much. Turning your dial and hearing what’s going on is so cool. We’re all very lucky to be back and doing this.

The broadcast day runs during festival hours from around 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., whenever the last note is played, Thursday through Sunday. Each day, two hosts anchor the show, and they’re often joined by someone else on the team – or guests – who feel the need to drop by. Normally artist interviews fill the breaks, but with varying levels of comfort observed as the country returns to a semblance of normal, contact is kept to a minimum.

Gone are the days when an antenna was stuck in the grass, located within sight of the studio on North Pine Street, and delicate, aging equipment had to play all weekend. Nowadays, a device made by Comrex sends audio from the park to the studio over the Internet. While streamlined and generally reliable, things can still go wrong. KOTO Executive Director Cara Pallone, like Caulfield, is grateful to be back on air, even walking a tightrope of technical issues that can weigh on broadcasting from the field.

“Technical issues stress me out of course, but we’re pure community radio, and you can hear hiccups here and there,” she said. “But the staff and volunteers all care deeply, and we do our best to deliver great sound. So, thank you all for loving KOTO unconditionally.

Being chosen to be part of the broadcast team is a coveted nod for KOTO DJs. Pallone describes the benefits of being at the microphone for festivals.

“Some of the things I love about broadcasting include the crew, the music, and the sweet snacks in the media tent,” Pallone said. “I also like hearing people who can’t be in the park say that they enjoy the broadcast – that’s obviously the overall goal.”

Laura Shaunette isn’t just the chair of KOTO’s governing body, the San Miguel Educational Fund, she’s a media ace who curated the bluegrass sets listeners hear when they log on. . Digging through KOTO’s vast music archive was fun but had its challenges.

“The biggest challenge is the sound quality,” she said. “Sometimes I see a set in our archives that I can’t wait to include, only to find it cuts off halfway. Fortunately, we have a lot of great materials to choose from.

Shaunette is enjoying her first year on the team.

“I’ve always dreamed of being a part of the KOTO Festival broadcast crew and let me tell you it’s a dream,” Shaunette said. “It was great riffing with my co-hosts and sharing our common re-emergence on the music festival scene. Energy is electric.

Sharing the show with the world, regardless of its temporary limitations, is a highlight of each year of KOTO’s eclectic programming. (KOTO also traditionally airs The Ride and Telluride Blues & Brews festivals.)

“The show has become such a treasure for people near and far, making the festival accessible and bringing people together in spirit,” Shaunette said. “People who live here, have visited, or dream of visiting can all get a taste of the special energy that pervades Town Park.”

Pallone agrees.

“The shows shine the spotlight on KOTO,” she said. “We are gaining so many new listeners and fans around the world with these broadcasts. We’re grateful to our festival partners, for the opportunity, and I think it’s mutually beneficial because people hear the magic happening in Town Park and want to enjoy it. Beyond the benefits for KOTO, the shows unite us in a truly special way. We all dance on the same big tarp.

This weekend’s team includes Caulfield, Pallone, Shaunette, KOTO reporter Matt Hoisch and KOTO DJs Claybrook Penn and Suzanne Cheavens, with KOTO operations assistant Heidi Sarazen holding the fort in the studio. Tune into 91.7, 89.3. 89.5 and 105.3.

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