Barbel Hacke paddle boards on a recent mission to test KOTO's signal in outer space. Hacke will take a turn spinning tunes and raising money from 2-3 p.m. on Guest DJ Day Friday. You can enter to win this board by donating $100 to KOTO. Donate anytime at koto.org, or call in on Guest DJ Day to 970-728-4333. (Photo courtesy of Gus Gusciora)

KOTO radio kicks off summer fundraising with Guest DJ Day Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Under the thematic banner “Across the Universe,” KOTO will feature an out-of-this-world lineup of eight guest DJ programs, along with stellar giveaways and all the cosmic camaraderie listeners can handle.

“The ‘Across the Universe’ theme came from our signal expansion to Ridgway and having fun with the fact that the town is only 40 miles away,” KOTO Executive Director Cara Pallone explained. “The goal is to raise $65,000 over two weeks for general operations and ongoing equipment needs, including the signal expansion in Ridgway.”

Last year the Federal Communications Commission approved KOTO’s application to expand its signal to Ridgway within three years. With new call letters KOOK and a new frequency at 90.3 FM, the tower will be located

just outside Ouray on Gold Mountain Ranch, a rugged 1,200-acre property with 100 historic mining claims. Once a property lease agreement is signed with the site owners, the station will locate and hire a radio frequency engineer to evaluate the site and provide a list of requisite supplies and equipment.

“It’s a pretty remote location so we’re shooting to have the equipment and erect the tower in the fall, but with lead time, it might have to be the spring,” Pallone said.

The location for the new tower is on a 9,300-foot precipice that overlooks the box canyon of Ouray and is already home to towers for KURA (Ouray High School radio station), Colorado Public Radio, emergency management services, major cell providers such as Verizon, and other internet and data providers.

“There aren’t many locations with this type of coverage that are accessible with existing infrastructure,” explained Keller Herrin, the operations manager of Gold Mountain Ranch for the past five years. “The primary concern is making sure that the infrastructure is in place that can handle the elements of all seasons.”

Herrin added that Gold Mountain is proud to partner with KOTO, which has served area constituents for decades.

“Our hope is that the planned location at Gold Mountain allows for expansion into the Uncompahgre Valley that will give rise to future success and longevity for KOTO,” he said.

Friday’s Guest DJ Day kicks off at 9 a.m. with the Pinhead Extravaganza, followed by The Astronaut Hour with Brewster Shaw and Joe Tanner, both locals and former astronauts. At 11 a.m., San Miguel Power Association “Lights It Up.”

At noon, travel writer Maribeth Clemente will host a special edition of “Travel Fun” with guests Steve Togni, general manager of Mountain Lodge Telluride, and Noah Sheedy, director of the Telluride Ski & Snowboard School. Clemente has gathered incentivizing premiums from Mountain Lodge, La Cocina de Luz, Aveda Telluride Spa, Cindybread, Counter Culture, and Mesa Rose and Grocery in Norwood.

Having served as a ski instructor and KOTO DJ for 19 years, Clemente said, “KOTO is my family. I love being a part of the ski school family and my KOTO family.”

Natalie Binder and Jodie Wright, representing CampV and One Architects, respectively, will commandeer the airwaves at 1 p.m. and spin a stellar mix of songs from past favorite music performances at Planet V, along with fun giveaways.

“CampV often feels like another universe even though it’s only an hour away from Telluride,” Binder said. “We started an arts and music festival called Planet V, so this theme is perfect for our crew.”

At 2 p.m., Bärbel Hacke will host a special edition of her Sunday morning “Beatles Brunch with Bärbel” called “Beatles Bash,” during which, as Hacke said, “you donate, I play your Beatles song.” She’ll be spinning original LPs and 45s.

“The first time I was on-air was in 1981 with a special report about demonstrations in West Germany against the placement of more cruise missiles,” recounted Hacke, who has hosted an early morning show called “Morning Dew” and an evening show called “Season of the Witch” over the years. “KOTO is the voice of Telluride and beyond. KOTO keeps the Telluride vibe alive, with community members young and old, from all ways of life.”

At 3 p.m., join the Glucksterns while they control the KOTO galaxy with “Lucky Stars.”

“My last name, Gluckstern, translates to ‘lucky star,’” local Sarah Gluckstern said. “My dad, Steven, whom we are honoring during this guest DJ hour, had a truly universal impact during his time on this planet.”

While on-air, the Gluckstern family plans to tell stories, introduce a song that relates to Steven and play some of his favorite tunes, including classical, rock and electronica.

“Gear Treks with Richie Parkhill & Erik Dalton” will wrap up Guest DJ Day from 4-5 p.m.

Donate $50 and receive a KOTO sun shirt while supplies last. Donate $100 and listeners will automatically be entered in two drawings — one for a SOL GalaXy Paddle Board, and the other for a two-night Peaks Hotel & Spa package, which includes a massage.

KOTO summer fundraising lasts through Sept. 2. To donate, go to koto.org., or call 970-728-4333.