In my recent interview with the Rev. Beth Banks of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Davis on the “COVID-19 Community Report,” she said of UUCD, “the buildings are closed, but the church is open.” In a time when our common language is populated with words like closed, distanced, and quarantined, to hear someone acknowledging the ways in which we can be open was like a breath of unmasked fresh air.

So yes, through that lens, Davis Media Access (DMA) is open. It’s a peculiar COVID reality: the early weeks were marked by low-level panic and too many moments with us asking “how do we manage while closed?” The ensuing months have been filled with not only figuring out the what, but the how, and retooling to do everything remotely as we “reopen.”

As the only nonprofit media and technology center in the county, we have a unique role to play. Not only do we highlight important community information and provide entertainment and music as respite, but other nonprofits and community groups who need to take events and fund raisers virtual are turning to us in droves for help. We’ve begun planning for local elections this fall, we’re busy getting to relaunch some grant work, and have moved to remote platforms for shows and workshops. In some ways, DMA has never been never been busier. Here’s a glimpse at some current projects:

Hollywood at Home – Collaborative Video Workshop for Youth: this summer, DMA has re-imagined its youth video-making classes and will offer an interactive, collaborative online workshop for youth aged 9-12 years, Aug. 10–14, from 3-5 pm. Students will work together online to develop the video’s concept, storyboard and script. Each participant will then video portions of the script at home using the cameras built into their phone. Students will share their segments using an online video editor called WeVideo, and work together to edit and piece together everyone’s different parts. Workshop enrollment is limited to a maximum of eight students, and registration closes by Thursday August 6, 2020. For more info please see

Relaunching studio shows: DMA maintains an HD television studio and editing booths, and during normal times, we use the studio to train community volunteers and interns, to produce shows of local interest, and to support volunteer use of the facility. We suspended these productions a few months ago but are now relaunching on a remote platform.

As one who hosts some of these shows, I can tell you it is not the same as using the studio! But it works, and we think it’s more important to get that content out there than to worry about production perfection. With much gratitude for DMA’s technical staff, especially Studio Manager Diane Dedoshka and Director of Operations Darrick Servis, I’m pleased to share our first two outings. Lin Weaver interviews DMA Training & Program Manager Alex Silva-Sadder about our organization’s pivots during the pandemic on “In the Studio”, and I have a chat with our new mayor, Gloria Partida on “The City Considers” All programs air on Comcast Channel 15 in Davis, and you can also subscribe to our YouTube channel for regular updates

Also on our YouTube, you’ll find videos from local Black Lives Matter marches, the showcase of videos from Make Music Day, and a wealth of other local content. Our full archive lives at

Local election coverage: we’re starting our planning for the Nov. 3 election. Yes, it’s that election, but there’s also a slew of local offices up for grabs, plus the complications of both the City and the Davis Joint Unifed School District moving to district elections. Along with COVID, this provides us with an opportunity to examine our coverage and think about retooling it. I’ll have more information for next month’s column.

KDRT DJs back on the air: finally, we’ve been able to bring back a number of KDRT programmers into the studio. This is accomplished with widely staggered air shifts and rigorous cleaning protocol. All shows can be heard live on KDRT 95.7 FM, and also streamed live at, where you can also find a schedule, program highlights, DJ contact info, or listen or download archived programs.

Autumn Labbé-Renault, Executive Director of Davis Media Access. She’s been spending part of her time during the pandemic documenting local experience and response through audio and video archives. Learn more at, email

Crossposted from the Davis Enterprise Aug 7, 2020