Do Savannnah

KCHUNG Radio to engage public at Savannah’s Jepson Center

  • “Savage” James Rockin is shown at KCHUNG in Los Angeles. KCHUNG Radio will start a six-week residency at the Jepson Center on March 6. (Photo by Emily Berl for The New York Times)
  • KCHUNG Radio will take over parts of the Jepson Center from March 6 through April 14. (Photo courtesy KCHUNG Radio)

KCHUNG Radio to engage public at Savannah’s Jepson Center

27 Feb 2017

From March 6 through April 14 — that’s six weeks — the atrium of the Jepson Center will be especially groovy. And if you pass by on your lunch break, you may even spot a few folks dancing around at one of the lunchtime discos.

That’s because KCHUNG Radio is taking over the space in what curator Rachel Reese calls a “public engagement residency” of one of Los Angeles’ fastest growing cooperative platforms.

Reese, the associate curator of modern and contemporary art for Telfair Museums, said the L.A. Chinatown-based radio station began in 2011 as a sort of DIY unlicensed radio platform.

“They have a low-fi transmitter, so they don’t need a broadcast license,” she explains.

That is how KCHUNG is able to bring their transmitter across the country to Savannah, where they plan to transmit their signal here, as well as stream content online. Reese says they also have a mobile broadcast unit that will go outside the museum to connect with the community.

“They were interested in the business of our city during the spring,” Reese says. “With Stopover, St. Patrick’s Day, A-Town Get Down, you name it, the city really comes alive during that time, so there should be no shortage of content.”

While KCHUNG originally began with a small handful of volunteers, Reese says they have grown to now include 200 members. “It’s a nonhierarchical organization and anyone can participate in areas you are drawn to …”

She adds it will be interesting to see how the community-based radio program will use the museum space to interact with the public.

“The idea is that they will activate our spaces and our audience and community at large,” she says.

Reese says the broadcast setup in the atrium will look like a hut surrounded by fake grass and will include a seating area so people can stop by and watch the action live. It will also be visible from the street, so you can stand on the sidewalk and watch as well, which should prove to be entertaining during the lunchtime discos.

The crew is also planning “whisper reports” where they will travel through gallery spaces — speaking in hushed tones, of course.

Another aspect of this event is the museum’s call for local participation to be a part of KCHUNG’s daily broadcast from the Jepson.

“We did a call for programming to the local community and got a good response,” Reese says. “… We received many interesting ideas they want to share on air … That’s the beauty of this project; it’s a very democratic way to share your ideas with other people.”

And with artist Nick Cave’s current exhibit at the Jepson, Reese says the exhibits were purposefully planned to coincide.

“It’s about this new model of thinking about sound and how artists are using sound and how we can engage our public in a very direct way.”

The KCHUNG programming will also feature the Telfair’s first College Night from 5-8 p.m. April 8. Students are admitted free with valid ID and they will have access to special tours of the Nick Cave exhibit, as well as KCHUNG Radio’s live event broadcast.


What: KCHUNG takeover at Jepson

When: March 6-April 14

Where: Jepson Center for the Arts, 207 W. York St.

Cost: Free to watch live broadcast, museum entry fee required to see exhibit space