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KVLU volunteer shares his two cents

A photo of KVLU equipment from the original station. Courtesy photo.
A photo of KVLU equipment from the original station. Courtesy photo.

Lamar University’s radio station, KVLU has been around for fifty years as of April 30.

Once every semester, the station hosts a two-week fundraiser where people can donate online or call the station to fill out a form. The latter requires volunteers, with members from all over the local community taking part. One of these community members, Dale Parrish, has volunteered for the station for nearly its entire history.

Parrish started around 1975-1976, he said, around the time KVLU was located where the current police station stands today. He would come in often when he was a student at Lamar, now showing up twice a year for the fundraiser. Except for just a year, he’s been volunteering ever since. 

“We had our fundraisers over there in a really cozy wooden holding room,” he said. “We brought in a lot of people back there.”

As KVLU expanded and eventually relocated to its current location in the theatre building, Parrish was there through it all and got to experience the programs the station had to offer. 

“There are so many things we appreciate that are supported by volunteers, especially those that do not cost us directly,” he said. “Public radio is like that, not to mention the diversity of programming that comes to us through NPR and local stations. I got interested in classical music shortly after I first joined as a member-supporter of KVLU and learned most of what I know about classical music through KVLU. There was no other place one could hear classical music then, and now, in our area.

“Additionally, I've heard so many books read over KVLU. Dick Estelle’s, ‘The Radio Reader,’ was on in the mornings from 5:30 to 6 every weekday, and my wife and I woke up to him reading a book that we'd probably have never read were it not for that program. I have discovered many new authors through The Radio Reader. I miss that program, but know that times change and so does programming.”

Parrish said NPR provides information for the curious and fulfills those who grow tired of the small sound bites commercial radio stations have to offer.

Photo of Dale Parrish. UP photo by Maddie Sims.

Dale Parrish stands at the Setzer Student Center.

UP photo by Maddie Sims.

“‘Morning Edition’ and ‘All Things Considered’ dig into and under the news stories, expanding on headlines and offering underlying facts, theories and opinions on how and why news events happened and what is being done about them and by whom,” he said. “Why so many of us want to support KVLU is much like Isaac Asimov replied when asked why so few people read science fiction: ‘Only intelligent people read science fiction.’  KVLU's support comes mostly from intelligent and cultured people.”

Both KVLU and Lamar University have grown a lot since 1974. Parrish has watched the evolution and even help out with the process. When KVLU moved up to the University Theatre building, Parrish helped move equipment.

“We were still broadcasting (at the police station),” he said. “They kept three racks online and they broadcast until 10 at night on Friday night. The university moved everything else during the day. Three of us took a Saturday driving. We took the last racks, unplugged them and loaded them in at one time. We went over to the new building, and had to go up a flight of stairs to get those equipment racks in the room. That was pretty cool, getting to be a part of the moving and making that process work.”

Parrish said he plans to keep volunteering as long as he’s breathing.

“If volunteers don't support the things they love, those things wither and die,” he said. “Not only do we feel like we're doing something worthwhile with our resources — mostly time, but volunteers share interests in the things they support, and make many lasting friendships through volunteering.”

To become a volunteer for KVLU, visit

Category: Features