KXCI’s Tucson Weekly Best of Tucson Awards
Since KXCI first began broadcasting in December 1983, Tucson’s community radio station has been warmly received and celebrated by the Old Pueblo’s amazing populace. We appreciate that our listeners have consistently voted for KXCI in Tucson Weekly’s annual Best of Tucson® awards! Unless otherwise noted, the majority of these awards were chosen by Tucson Weekly’s readers. All of the following is the copyright of the Tucson Weekly.
Best of Tucson® 2016 – Best Radio Station for Music
With staple shows like Your Morning Brew, The Home Stretch, Locals Only, Blues Review and Kidd Squid’s Mystery Jukebox, eclectic musical excellence has been the hallmark of KXCI for more than 30 years. While playlists at commercial stations are only growing more dull and limited, KXCI remains as free as ever. And with plans moving forward for new, highly visible studio in the Hotel Congress, this local, listener-supported community radio station is growing even stronger.
Best of Tucson® 2015 – Best Radio Station for Music
Tucson really is lucky to have KXCI. After all, not every city can boast its own truly local community radio station. With a host of DJs that could probably also be your friend and great Sonoran-specific programming like Petey Mesquitey’s “Growing Native,” you can’t help but feel a part of the station. Plus, where else are you going to listen to Tucson’s best bands side by side with national acts from the past and present?
Best of Tucson® 2014 – Best Radio Station for Music
When they say “real people, real radio,” they mean it. KXCI is celebrating three decades of providing an alternative to the corporate programming that has assimilated all the radio stations here (and just about everywhere else) with a major milestone: A new transmitter that has boosted the station’s signal across the valley. Congrats to Randy Peterson and the gang down there. May the next three decades be half the work and twice the fun!
Best of Tucson® 2012 – Best 2 1/2 Hours on KXCI FM 91.3
Hex Enduction Hours
If you’re a Tucsonan who actually enjoys listening to the radio, your favorite radio station is probably KXCI—but even the most-devout music fan would find it challenging to like every show on 91.3’s schedule. Maybe you’re really into Al Perry’s Clambake, or perhaps Search and Rescue‘s focus on psychedelic jams from the ’60s and ’70s would be more to your liking. It’s certainly possible the 2 1/2 hours of punk and post-punk that Julio Pena spins starting at 2:30 a.m. (!) on Wednesday might not be your thing, but it should be. Pena is a great curator, and he spotlights music that really should be on the radio somewhere. Plus, any show named after a Fall album is worth checking out at least once.
Best of Tucson® 2011 – Best Radio Show for Local Music
Locals Only, 8 p.m. on Mondays
When you tune in to Locals Only on KXCI, the intimate banter among band members almost makes you feel like you’re in Studio 2A with them. Host Matt Milner has a quiet magic; he gets artists to effuse about their music without ever really making his presence felt. The program does its part to represent the local music scene; it highlights artists from many genres, from surf rockers the Boogie Nazis to Latin-pop pair Duo Libre. With raw and charming live performances, the program helps its audience understand the allure of local music. And by choosing musicians with upcoming performances, the program encourages listeners to investigate local music on their own, which does Tucson’s musicians and venues a great service.
Best of Tucson® 2005 – Best Special Evening of Radio
Tuesday nights on KXCI feature the knockout triple-bill of Shorty Stubbs’ Country Fringe followed by Michael Hyatt’s Route 66 and The Roze Lady’s Rosie’s Rhythm Room. This combo gives listeners six solid hours of really good country music–a little bit of everything, from Mother Maybelle Carter to Buck Owens to Neko Case. It’s like a road trip on a wide-open highway in an old American station wagon, but without all the guilt about driving a gas-guzzler.
Best of Tucson® 2005 – Best Local MVP: Don Jennings and KXCI
KXCI is the only radio station that regularly plays local artists, and Don Jennings‘ Locals Only show does only that for two hours each week. There is simply no better way to get your feet wet in what’s going on in local music.
Best of Tucson® 2004 – Best Radio Personality, Kidd Squidd
Kidd Squidd’s Mystery Jukebox
For radio enthusiasts of a certain age, the sounds emanating from the transistor used to actually be wildly enjoyable and mind-expanding, miles away from the programmed pablum that multinational conglomerates spoonfeed the masses today. DJs used to have a say in what got played on the publicly owned (yeah, right) airwaves, which made sense, considering they were actually music fans looking for the next great thing (as opposed to the next big, moneymaking thing, determined by which major record label had the most cash to spend to ensure it). Thank God, then, for KXCI, which represents the last bastion of such a notion. And thank God for Kidd Squidd, whose Mystery Jukebox program airs from 2 to 5 p.m. each Saturday afternoon at 91.3 FM on your radio dial. All of the DJs at the station have your best interest in mind (i.e. turning you onto stuff you likely wouldn’t hear otherwise and not getting paid for their efforts), but no one is more excited about the notion than the Kidd. He’s there for you, week after week, with a unifying theme for each show that is obviously well thought-out, not only filling your ears with a heady dose of the finest music ever recorded, but also filling the space that lies between your ears with the minutiae-both historical and personal-that makes you appreciate it all the more. Kidd Squidd is a true radio personality the likes of which is, sadly, a dying breed. He’s a true Tucson treasure who should not be taken for granted.
Best of Tucson® 2003 – Best Radio Talk Show (Host)
Amy Goodman/Democracy Now!
Broadcasting from New York City, Amy Goodman isn’t exactly local. But her show, Democracy Now!, airs weekdays at 3 p.m. on KXCI 91.3, so perhaps that makes her local enough. Geography aside, Goodman’s award-winning reporting remains untamed by the whips of “patriotism” that seem to have much of mainstream media jumping through hoops. Her voice crackling with earnestness, Goodman is committed to reporting the stories she believes we must hear, stories that most of us would never otherwise encounter–eyewitness accounts, interviews, lectures. After an hour with Goodman, you may be outraged, you may be frustrated and you may be sickened, dismayed, despondent or even terrified, but you will definitely be more enlightened.
Best of Tucson® 2003 – Kidd Squidd, Radio Ringmaster
(Feature article, click on link for full story)
Best of Tucson® 2002 – Best Rock Music Station
You had better do what you are told; you better listen to the radio! And you’d better listen to KXCI, the best station in the known universe. On the air since 1983, KXCI plays the most eclectic, eccentric, electrifyin’ rock ‘n’ roll you can imagine (and even some that you can’t): world beat, roots, rockabilly, ska raves, obscure Grateful Dead live shows from 1971, lounge music, hip hop, psychedelia, country, Western, jazz, post-modern alt-emo trance fusion and so much more. Special mention must be made of KXCI’s ongoing commitment to Tucson musicians; local artists are frequently played on the station, and often participate in live broadcasts. Although all the shows and DJs are thoroughly enjoyable, nothing, in our opinion, can compare to the powerhouse Saturday lineup: alternative acoustic music, followed by bluegrass, Ruby’s Roadhouse, Kidd Squidd’s Mystery Jukebox, Espresso Swing, Blues Review, Cafe Soul, Beat Street and, finally, the Live Jazz Show.
Best of Tucson® 2002 – Best Radio Personality, Kidd Squidd
Kidd Squidd’s Mystery Jukebox
So, you’ve just discovered early British punk, but you don’t know where to turn after buying Never Mind the Bollocks Here’s the Sex Pistols and The Clash. Or, you’re digging German prog rock, but after Can and Neu!, what else is there? Your safest, cheapest and most educational option in these matters is to tune into Kidd Squidd’s Mystery Jukebox. Airing Saturday afternoons–every one!–from 2 to 4 p.m., on every thinking person’s favorite radio station–community radio 91.3 KXCI-FM–the estimable Mr. Squidd (the cat’s real name is Dave Squires) gives you a righteous tutorial on the aforementioned periods of musical history and just about any period you can dream up. In a world where DJs have become “on-air personalities” and “talent.” the Squiddman is merely a well-informed music geek with a radio show. Is there anything better?
Best of Tucson® 2001 – Best Radio Station
If you look left on the dial to 91.3 FM, a music mix of legendary performances will greet you! You will be blessed with goodness – well, you will find yourself blessed if you are a true fan of music. We’re not talking about music that is major-label carrying, no-talent having, over produced mindless crap that DJs of major radio stations so gleefully torture us with by spinning ‘N Sync in heavy rotation. We’re talking about a radio station that is all over the music map, with shows ranging from country music on Route 66 to psychedelic on ’60s and ’70s on Technicolor Dream, to the swank cocktail music of Swizzle Stick. KXCI has shows that feature punk, salsa honky-tonk and world music, and a beloved Locals Only! Do you know any other station that spins local music? We didn’t think so.
Best of Tucson® 2000 – Best Radio Personality, Kidd Squidd
Kidd Squidd’s Mystery Jukebox
Once again our readers have bestowed one of their favorite accolades upon KXCI’s Kidd Squidd. Despite being chosen Tucson’s favorite radio personality for the 147th straight year, Squidd will not rest on his laurels. Kidd Squidd’s Mystery Jukebox airs on community radio KXCI every Saturday afternoon from 2 to 5 p.m., the perfect time to tune in while lounging around the pool with good friends and good barbecue. A self-taught musicologist specializing in all things rock and roll, Squidd customizes theme shows around his passions. These include blues, rockabilly, roots, 60’s psychedelia, pop, chick singers and many other sub-categories of rock and roll. Having come to Tucson from Illinois via Haight-Ashbury, Squidd threads together the tunes in his themed shows with tales from his life as a rock music fan. He conveys a warmth and an obvious love of music and music-makers that is positively infectious. Many Tucsonans who move away do not leave before pre-arranging to have a friend promise to tape Kidd Squidd’s Mystery Jukebox every week and mail it to them. Aren’t we lucky that all we have to do is tune in?
Best of Tucson® 2000 – Best Radio Personality Runner Up, Hot Rod Ron
Hot Rod Ron is one of those increasingly rare-to-come-by D.J.s who does what he does for the sheer love of the music. Hot Rod Ron’s Checkered Strip airs on KXCI on Tuesday evenings from 11p.m. to 1a.m. That time slot alone is enough to convince you that Hot Rod Ron spins tunes because he loves them and wants other people to hear them. His ever-changing playlist is comprised mainly of cuts from local bands as well as some rockabilly, psychobilly, surf, greaser, hot rod, old punk and old country tunes. He stirs thing up by airing Halloween shows four times per year. Halloween is Hot Rod Ron’s favorite holiday, and he happens to love songs with spooky themes, so he just can’t confine himself to one Halloween themed show in October. Think hot rods and plastic spider rings, and tune in to Hot Rod Ron’s Checkered Strip. Vrrrrooooooom!
Best of Tucson® 1999 – Best Radio Station for Music
Where else on the local airwaves will you hear Tuvan throat-singing from Mongolia, Finnish folk songs and a show of psychedelic ’60s sounds? Calling the station’s global-spanning range a smorgasbord of sound just scratches the surface. Community radio KXCI takes on and succeeds the challenge of being as diverse as the population it serves, and then some. And if you don’t like what you hear, wait a little while and it’ll change to something completely different. If you’ve tried to explain KXCI to friends outside the Tucson area, help is on the way: the station has plans to stream its programming over the Internet, so even your friends in Outer Mongolia can hear their favorite Tuvan tunes broadcast from Tucson to yurt via computer. KXCI is one of those group efforts that best showcases the Old Pueblo in all its eclectic glory.
Best of Tucson® 1999 – Best Radio DJ, Kidd Squidd
Kidd Squidd’s Mystery Jukebox
Dave Squires, a.k.a. Kidd Squidd, has been a stalwart of Tucson’s own KXCI-FM since moving here from Los Angeles in 1984 – and from that time on, he’s been committed to the principle that ours should be one pueblo under a groove. Squidd’s three-hour Saturday extravaganza Rock Roots, a.k.a. Mystery Jukebox, has given Tucson listeners a bottom-to-top education in the pleasures of music of all kinds, from the field shouters of 1920s Mississippi to the latest technoravers from Manchester. The Kidd has also instructed us in all manner of musical knowledge, from the origin of the word “ska” to the contents of Elvis’ last meal. One day they’ll name a school of music after the Squiddmeister. Until that time, he’ll have to bask in the love of his many listeners – a love that he repays weekly with the wondrous good vibrations he spins.
Best of Tucson® 1999 – Best Radio Station For News – Runner Up
The popularity of KXCI as a news source is an interesting phenomenon, since the station carries only an hour and a half of hard news programming Monday through Friday: Democracy Now, from 9 to 10 a.m. and Pacifica Network News, from 5 to 5:30 p.m. Both focus on the news from a liberal perspective, with an emphasis on human rights, corporate misconduct and environmental issues. PNN has even found itself in the news with its personnel policies sparking angry protests in Berkeley. Democracy Now enjoys being the fly in the ointment of traditional news coverage, recently disrupting a journalism awards ceremony to question a U.S. ambassador reluctant to grant an interview. If you didn’t feel paranoid about how corporations supplant government policies, about the injustices in the application of the death penalty, or the scale of human rights abuses in the world, you will after a few sessions. With these two shows, KXCI spotlights the news that the networks would rather ignore. KXCI also covers a wide range of local issues in its eclectic programming. Shows such as The View From Slightly Off Center, Out Loud, Native Caller, Chicano Fist and Half-time at the Apocalypse, to name a few, offer unique and local perspectives you won’t hear anywhere but on this plucky little station.
Best Of Tucson® 1998 – Best Radio Station for Music – Runner Up
Eclectic doesn’t even begin to describe the range of this community radio station. You’re likely to hear anything here: old-timey bluegrass, rap, blues, trance, zydeco or bootleg Dead concerts. What station in their right mind would program a Celtic show followed by a reggae hour? But that’s the point: KXCI-FM, 91.3, wants to expand your consciousness, not narrow it, through the magic of radio. Although it sometimes helps to have attention-deficit disorder to smooth the transitions, KXCI always challenges you to keep up, following the assumption you’re as intelligent and diversity-loving as they are. They also have unabashedly opinionated talk segments like “Native Caller,” “A View from Slightly Off Center” and “Out Loud,” to name a few. KXCI has consistently been the local music scene’s biggest booster, with an almost religious fervor in its promotion of home-grown artists. While commercial stations work themselves into tighter and tighter demographic niches, KXCI wallows in a little bit of everything. Tune in and support electronic anarchy.
Best of Tucson® 1996 Best Radio Station for Music – Runner Up
Reader’s & Staff Pick
For the first time in the history of our readers’ poll, KXCI 91.3 FM slips to second place. We, however, still think its tops.
Best of Tucson® 1995 Best Radio Station for Music
Reader’s & Staff Pick
No radio station in Tucson comes close to playing the extraordinary assortment of music KXCI dispatches on the airwaves every day. Tune in at a given moment and you might hear a Stevie Ray Vaughn electric guitar riff to a Thelonius Monk jazz beat to an Indigo Girls harmony. The secret behind KXCI’s musical resourcefulness lies in its army of volunteers. Behind each unique show you can find someone who fervently loves the music for which only KXCI creates an outlet, from gospel to techno, bluegrass to blues, salsa to rockabilly.
Previous issues of the Tucson Weekly’s Best of Tucson awards are not online as of March 2016. According to this re-cap of Tucson Weekly articles, the Best of Tucson awards began in 1987.
KXCI in the Arizona Daily Star
Tucson’s sole mainstream paper, the Arizona Daily Star, has covered KXCI’s happenings for years! The articles are a wonderful resource for learning about the station’s history. The links included below feature any coverage that mentions KXCI. This page is a continuous work in progress. If you have links to Arizona Daily Star articles that aren’t included below, please email links to Jamie Manser – jlmanser at gmail dot com.
07.08.2016: KXCI to Begin Hotel Congress Broadcasts in Fall
12.18.2015: Parade of Lights Coming to Downtown Tucson
12.15.2015: 7 Places to Visit Santa in Tucson
11.04.2015: Music Briefs
09.02.2015: Music Briefs
08.30.2015: Stefan E. George
08.18.2015: Tucson Hall of Fame Musician Stefan George Dies
06.17.2915: Music Briefs
03.28.2015: Moving Up: KXCI Community Radio Names New GM
10.29.2014: Kane Evokes ‘The Power in You’
12.19.2013: Music Notes: Festivus
08.15.2013: KXCI Does Its Annual Time Travel
07.18.2013: Paladins Back for Rockin’ Blues Revival
05.16.2013: Tucson Hip-Hop Artists Pioneer Their Own Sound
08.18.2013: New Lounge in Works Downtown
08.10.2012: KXCI House Rockin’ Blues Review Tonight
04.05.2012: Festival en el Barrio Benefits KXCI Radio
01.19.2012: Jonathan Holden Dies, Promoted Roots Concerts
08.18.2011: This Week’s Tucson Music News
03.26.2011: Festival Adds UA Game to Its Lineup
02.10.2011: Savoys Tap Roots of Cajun
12.16.2010: Tucson Rich with Authentic Music
11.18.2010: Six Advance to do Battle
04.04.2010: Photo Gallery: Festival en el Barrio Viejo
04.01.2010: Barrio Calls to Calexico
09.03.2009: Cowpunk Al Perry: a Record Pack Rat
04.05.2009: DJs Put a Spin on Sharing with Community
01.15.2009: Judge Has His Own CD, Radio Show
12.18.2008: Meet the 2009 Battle of the Bands Judges
10.15.2008: Arts Bring New Life to Tucson Industrial Zone
05.22.2008: ‘Locals Only’ Jennings Leaving KXCI Radio
04.18.2008: Ambitious Plan Aims to Boost Tucson Filmmaking
04.17.2008: Tucson’s Music Icon Howe Gelb
03.06.2008: KXCI 91.3-FM Kristi Lloyd
02.14.2008: Talented Twins Take the Battle
12.20.2007: Meet the Battle of the Bands Judges
09.27.2007: World Music Shows on KXCI
07.19.2007: Tucson Music Scene is on the Cusp
02.16.2007: Tucson Time Capsule: KXCI Gets a New Home
02.10.2007: Battle of the Bands: a Rockin’ Rumble at Rialto
07.28.2006: TV and Radio Stations off the Air Due to Storm
06.16.2006: ‘Dead Air’ to Honor Ex-Host Tonight
02.23.2006: Sonny Landreth Slides in for KXCI’s Big Bash
10.28.2004: She’s Queen of Zydeco
KXCI in the Tucson Citizen
On May 16, 2009, Tucson’s afternoon paper printed its final edition after 138 years. According to this press release, the Tucson Citizen was the oldest continuously published newspaper in Arizona. Its reporters did an amazing job of covering the KXCI’s news and events! We appreciate their dedication to the station. The links included below feature any coverage that mentions KXCI.
02.19.2009: IMPAK Radio Show Highlights Soul
02.19.2009: Tucson Talents – 17th Street Band
10.16.2008: 17th Street Band Plays KXCI Benefit Tuesday
08.28.2008: $900,000 in Grants Going to Area Arts Programs
08.14.2008: Musician Friends Kick In to Help KXCI
04.17.2008: Howe Gelb, Kate Maki Play KXCI Benefit Concert
11.15.2007: El Casino Ballroom to be Restored to 1940s Glory
01.17.2007: Food on TV & Radio
01.05.2007: What’s Cooking (Wake & Bake on KXCI)
07.28.2006: KOLD TV, KXCI Radio off Air from Recent Storm
06.15.2006: KXCI’s Dead Air Co-host ‘Jack Straw’ Dies
06.01.2006: KXCI Town Hall Tonight
05.01.2006: Students Find Poetry a Healing Art
06.21.2005: Public TV, Radio May Lose Some Funding
10.28.2004: Queen Ida will Reign in Tucson with Zydeco
08.28.2003: Breakdown of Tucson’s FM Dial
12.16.2002: Not Music to Their Ears
10.24.2002: Dusty Chaps Reunite for a KXCI Benefit Concert
07.17.2001: KXCI Program Changes
11.23.2000: KXCI Broadcasts Rainer Memorial Concert
05.11.2000: Jimmie Dale Gilmore Performs a KXCI Benefit
12.25.1999: KXCI’s Top 50 Artists of the Century
04.14.1999: Chef Eats up Chance to Expand Air Time
05.07.1998: KXCI Presents Sisters Morales
12.05.1996: KXCI Celebrates 12th Anniversary with Beausoleil
09.26.1996: KXCI Member Drive
07.11.1996: DJ Supplies Kicks on `Route 66′
04.25.1996: Events – Queen Ida
10.05.1995: KXCI Presents Don Walser and The Pure Texas Band
08.09.1995: Dead Heads Mourn
06.22.1995: James Harman’s a Blues Heavyweight
06.01.1995: Boogie on Down, Bayou-style
01.10.1995: KXCI Back on the Air after `Ice-out’
12.09.1993: KXCI Survives Rocky Decade
12.09.1993: KXCI Concerts
12.08.1993: KXCI Personalities More than Voices on Radio
12.08.1993: Power at KXCI a Five-Pronged Structure
12.08.1993: Filling in the Airwaves
KXCI in the Tucson Weekly
KXCI and the Tucson Weekly began producing alternative media content for the Old Pueblo within a year of each other. Both outlets have unflinchingly supported the local scene for over three decades! This page is a continuous work in progress. If you have links to Tucson Weekly articles that aren’t included below, please email Jamie Manser – jlmanser at gmail dot com.
03.07.2016: KXCI Celebrates Tucson’s Women, Artfully
11.25.2015: America’s Got Talent is Coming to Tucson
10.15.2014: Your Best of Tucson Preview is on KXCI Today
09.17.2014: Nine Questions with KXCI’s Amanda Shauger
05.09.2014: Cathy Rivers Named KXCI’s Program Director
02.27.2014: Kings of Pleasure: The Blues Singles
01.10.2014: KXCI Says No Festival En El Barrio This Year
12.19.2013: Soundbites – Peace Dog (Festivus Celebration)
11.28.2013: Warheads Lend KXCI a Hand
11.21.2013: Celebrating KXCI with Built to Spill
03.21.2013: Soundbites – Wild in the Streets
12.20.2012: Soundbites – Benefits for Any Mood
09.13.2012: The Year in Local Music
08.09.2012: Soundbites – A Truly Special Event
05.24.2012: Soundbites – From Studio 2A to Plush
01.26.2012: Music is Medicine
10.20.2011: Healing Sounds
09.01.2011: The Year in Local Music
09.08.2010: The Year in Local Music
08.26.2010: Soundbites – KXCI Celebrates 1970
04.08.2010: Soundbites – The Festivals Continue!
12.17.2009: Cover Up and Tune In
09.10.2009: TAMMIES – The Year in Local Music
09.10.2009: TAMMIES – Community Connections
02.19.2009: City Week – Community Radio Get-Down
12.04.2008: Soundbites – Silver Celebration
11.20.2008: Soundbites – Local Do-Gooders Celebrate, Do Good
08.14.2008: A Note from the Music Editor – TAMMIE Awards
12.13.2007: Soundbites – A Very KXCI Christmas
12.13.2007: The Range – Party Hearty
11.29.2007: Soundbites – Time to Take Cover
09.27.2007: Soundbites – Remembering Shorty
09.20.2007: Soundbites – So Long, Shorty
04.26.2007: Bruce Ready to be the Boss at KXCI
04.26.2007: Nine Questions with KXCI’s Laurie Starr
12.08.2005: Soundbites – 22 Years of Community Radio
12.04.2003: Soundbites – Happy Anniversary (KXCI’s 20th)
12.26.2002: Soundbites – Worship at the Temple
12.12.2002: Tucson Rock City
11.28.2002: Rhythm & Views
02.07.2002: Soundbites – Mardi Gras Madness
10.11.2001: Mailbag – Radio Flyer
08.10.1995: Big Noise