Humboldt Hot Air takes over local radio airwaves

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by Eddie Carpenter

Nearly four years ago, Cal Poly Humboldt decided to abandon local-based programming for KHSU. This heartbreaking decision left local radio personalities with no creative outlet to broadcast from. Recently, some of those same people were able to redeem themselves on a radio station known as Humboldt Hot Air. In its humble beginnings, the station began as a simple recording studio. Any content that was created would be sent to a community-based radio station known as KZZH. In October 2021, station manager Neroli Devaney had set up a live streaming service, which gave rise to an underdog known as Humboldt Hot Air.

“We are an online internet radio station,” Devaney said. “We are based in the Arcata Playhouse. We are very eclectic and diverse in our programming. We have talk shows [and] lots of music shows. We program every other day of the week except for Tuesdays.”

Devaney made it clear that she was not the one who founded Humboldt Hot Air. However, the 24-year-old manager also shared what inspired her to take on this role.

“I did four years of radio at UC Santa Cruz. When I was there, I worked at KZSC, which is the radio station on campus there,” Devaney said. “When I was there, I did a bunch of different stuff, I was also a hip-hop director through a bunch of events, I just found myself really into radio and really passionate about it. I am from Arcata and when I graduated from UC Santa Cruz, I came back to Arcata. When I was in high school, I used to volunteer with the Arcata Playhouse with their teen program, which is called Apprentice Entertainment. Jackie Dandeneau, who is executive director of the Arcata Playhouse reached out to me. [She] said that she started this project called Humboldt Hot Air. They were recording audio and they had this goal of eventually having a live stream…She asked if I wanted to get involved and I said yes. [I] thought it sounded really fun.”

Devaney also explained how the former KHSU audience had become her most avid listeners.

“When we started a lot of people felt that there was this need for community radio in Arcata. A lot of the DJs saw that we were doing Humboldt Hot Air and I started getting a couple old KHSU DJs,” Devaney said.

“We’re still kind of attracting that crowd, which has been really awesome, especially for our own publicity,” Devaney said. “KHSU had this huge fanbase in the community, so to be able to bring DJs back and have them do their shows again– a lot of the community has had a positive response to that, those are our most popular shows, people will be like, ‘oh my god I listened to that show for thirty years and it’s back, that’s so amazing! It’s the same DJ.’ It’s just been really fun.”

Humboldt Hot Air strives to one day become an FM station.

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