Members of the band “Juice Box Theory” Jacob Burns, left, and Jared Margen, tune up their instruments prior to a Local Lixx session.

ELECTRONICA. JAZZ. RAP. THE ZITHER. It’s all available for your listening pleasure on Local Lixx, the live music show airing weekly on Humboldt State’s student-run radio station, KRFH.

A longtime and always-popular standard of KRFH’s programming schedule, the show has gained even more exposure since the station received an FCC low-wattage license last spring. Prior to that, listeners had to tune in to KRFH via the Internet, and even earlier, it was only accessible in the residence halls.

WHAT’S BEEN CONSISTENT throughout that evolution is Local Lixx, a one-hour show that airs at 7 p.m. Thursday evenings at 105.1 FM dial and online at krfh.net. The show still features local artists performing live in the studio, but its student managers have broadened the audience through technology while also refining the recording process.

“It’s about the local artists. That’s the basic, fundamental element that hasn’t changed,” says Michael Levan (Music) who comprises the three-person management team with Kobe Thompson (Music) and Timothy Lanahan (Journalism).

Those artists—both students and community members—line up for their chance to perform. There’s never been a problem filling the docket, and the wide variety of musical genres helps keep the show fresh.

For instance, last semester acts included the jazz combo Business Casual and hip hop artist Katalyst. Improvisational artist Victor Hugo entertained listeners with his talents on the zither, an instrument that could be loosely described as a horizontal harp.

“We don’t limit the acts,” Lanahan said. “As long as they follow FCC rules and aren’t obscene, they can do anything they want. The only rule is the music must be radio-friendly.”

Gaining an FM presence has mandated compliance with those FCC rules, but between acts censoring themselves and the in-booth engineer monitoring for slip-ups, no problems have yet to arise.

“So far, it’s actually been funny,” Lanahan said. “When a rap artist was on, he had his friend go ‘shhhhh’ to censor words. And the person who is working in the booth can sense if a curse word is coming. There are only so many words that rhyme with duck.”

Thompson is the veteran of the team, and will have three years of experience with Local Lixx when he graduates with a Music degree in the spring.

“Soundproofing the recording studio is probably the biggest improvement we’ve made,” Thompson said. “The other major improvements have come in with Michael and Tim’s involvement. Michael brought a professional viewpoint to the project with his knowledge of mic techniques, and Tim has done a great job with post-production and promotion. We have a great team here.”

As far as the production has advanced, there are still occasions when the team has flexed its creative muscles to come up with old-school solutions. Levan, who has his own in-home recording studio, dipped into his bag of tricks during one session when he and his partners decided an “echo” effect would enhance sound quality.

“We strung together XLR (microphone) cords to reach down the hall, out the door, into the men’s room and back,” Levan said. “We basically routed the sound to a monitor in the bathroom, where it was picked up by a microphone and sent back to the studio. It worked really well.”

Most Thursday shows are more conventional, beginning with the arrival of a six-student volunteer set-up crew at 4:30 p.m. After being briefed by the managers on the week’s featured artist, the two-person teams run cables, place microphones, and assist with unloading and instrument set-up for the band’s arrival at 5 p.m.

Sound-checks are next, and by 6:45 p.m., managers, engineers, and artists are poised to go live at 7 p.m. At least that’s what happens in most instances.

“It can be chaos at times, but we haven’t been late yet this semester,” says Levan, who is in his third year with Local Lixx. “After the hour is done, the next DJ goes on, and we put everything back. After takedown, we help the bands load up equipment and get on their way. Boom. A Local Lixx session was had.”

Lanahan is newest to the management team. He got involved two years ago as a member of the set-up crew, and ascended to a management role last semester. He’s embraced the concept of wider availability, creating an online archive of sessions that accommodates anyone who missed the live version.

A recent project he has taken on is “Song of the Week,” which features a selection from the previous week’s session. Additional post-production refinement brings up the sound standards, and once Lanahan is satisfied with the quality, he uploads the song to a featured slot on the KRFH website, where it is available for listening and downloading.

Thompson sees his experience with Local Lixx as a step toward a career in music. An accomplished performer with a particular interest in electronic music, he plans to explore the music scene in Germany before returning home to enroll in a graduate program focused on further expanding his repertoire.

“Local Lixx has given me a direction,” Thompson said. “I’d like to learn more about recording, and find other opportunities to work in the music world. I might even start my own record label.”

TOP: Drummer Aaron Katz and CENTER LEFT: guitarist Jacob Burns, performed with their band, Juice Box Theory, during a Local Lixx session. CENTER RIGHT: Manager Kobe Thompson has worked with Local Lixx for three years. BOTTOM: Members of the band Juice Box Theory listen to a recording of their session with the Local Lixx production crew.