By Parker Wilson and Charlie Hippensteel
If you’re ever listening to the radio in the car, keep an ear out for the KDNK AZYEP kids!
Based out of KDNK Community Access Radio in Carbondale, the Andy Zanca Youth Empowerment Program (AZYEP) nonprofit provides an all-inclusive extracurricular opportunity that teaches kids from diverse backgrounds how to express themselves through music. Youth Djs learn everything they need to know about the radio, from spinning vinyl in the studio to controlling the sound board. There’s even a youth news team learning to gather and report local happenings in a podcast format
Annemarie Zanca founded the Andy Zanca Youth Empowerment Program in honor of her late brother, Andy Zanca, who was KDNK’s first youth DJ. Sadly, Andy passed away in 1998 by suicide.
The program features kids from all over the valley, ranging from elementary school to high school, each with their own diverse taste in music.
Annemarie Zanca’s daughter, Lily Webber – a recent graduate from Glenwood Springs High School – spoke with Parker Wilson about the significance of the program. “In my experience, it boosts confidence and speaking skills drastically in students, and it’s just a lot of fun! I think it’s really special that AZYEP provides that opportunity to anyone that wants it.”
Webber also commented on the programs’ origins, and why the program focuses on youth empowerment. “My uncle Andy Zanca was the very first kid to have his own radio show, and it was a real safe haven for him. He wasn’t very good at school or making friends, but he loved music and being on the radio and it helped him feel more comfortable with talking and being himself.”
Last weekend, from 4 p.m. on Oct. 9 to 4 p.m. on Oct. 10, AZYEP took over the KDNK airwaves for 24 hours straight. The takeover included youth DJs in the program from ages 7 to 17, with many different musical genres. Alongside the takeover was an online silent auction. You can learn more about AZYEP, including how to donate, at https://azyep.org/
KDNK-FM is found at 88.1, 88.3, 88.5 in the Roaring Fork Valley.