A "labor of love" is how John and Lu Carpino refer to their unique radio station, KRIM 96.3 FM.
Unlike the vast majority of radio stations, KRIM is a public radio station with a multi-format, which means that when you tune in to 96.3, you may hear anything from folk and reggae to jazz and blues.
"We were approached by the Payson Council of Music Arts who had obtained a license for low-powered FM," Lu said. "Because of our combined experience in radio, they asked us to assist them in getting it started."
Steve Bingham, president of KRIM received the first FCC low-powered FM license in the state of Arizona. When he told John that it would be a multi-format station, he got very excited.
"All types of music are valid," John said. "We are trying to expand Payson's musical horizons and do it in a way that is successful. We rely on community support, so we play music that is tasteful."
"It's kind of like a daily music lesson," Lu said.
KRIM first went on the air waves amidst the Rodeo-Chediski Fire.
"It was trial by fire," Lu said.
"We started going to all the fire briefings and putting them on the air," John said.
Between their motley mix of music, John and Lu updated evacuees on the fire. The two joke that while few Payson residents had discovered their new radio station, most of the evacuees were tuned in.
"That's how part of our mission statement came to be," Lu said. "I just happened to say, ‘community radio for a community that cares' -- and it stuck.
Music and public service have always been a big part of life for the Carpinos. Nearly 20 years ago, the two met while they were both teachers in Yuma.
"John was performing one night and I was there with some friends who encouraged me to get up on stage and sing with him, " Lu said. "The rest is history."
The Carpinos have been a Payson fixture for years, performing, broadcasting and working in the Payson school district. But when the opportunity to run a public radio station came their way, they had to grab it.
"Public radio is a beautiful thing," John said. "We are offering something totally special and unique to this area and the community is embracing it."
KRIM has started a new alliance with the Sedona Cultural Center and the Putumayo world music label. Because of this new friendship, they have been able to interview international stars from their studio.
"We were able to have Oliver Mtukudzi, Zimbabwe's number one star, on our station -- talking to people in Payson," John said. "Music really is the universal language and we've slowly been expanding our selection to include world music -- French folk songs, Mexican music, South African music."
No doubt, listeners will hear music that they won't on stations that play the same top ten tunes every few hours.
"I like discovering acts that I've heard about but never reach the top of the charts -- the hidden gems," John says.
"If you want the top of the charts, you're listening to the wrong station. We play quality artists with quality songs."
Although they expose listeners to the lesser-known artist, the Carpinos still love to play the old favorites.
"I'm a Flashback Fridays kind of girl," Lu said.
Flashback Friday features music from the 50's, 60's and 70's.
While a large part of KRIM's mission is to expand musical awareness, the fact that it is a public radio station also carries with it a responsibility, according to John and Lu.
KRIM is radio by the people, for the people.
"We are public radio which is a very different animal than commercial radio," Johns said. "We are a non-profit station run by a non-profit organization."
"The station belongs to the community and they dictate what direction we go in," Lu said.
The Carpinos have been pleasantly surprised by the positive feedback from the public.
"People have really supported us and thanked us for bringing this kind of music variety to Payson," Lu said.
The Carpinos make an effort to do a lot for the community through the station.
"Part of our mission is to promote the creative and musical arts," Lu said.
Several local and regional bands such as Hans Olsen, the John Scott Band, Code Blue and Walkin' Cane Mark, even the high school choir, have visited the KRIM studio and treated listeners to a live performance.
John and Lu frequently invite representatives from local nonprofits to come on their morning show, Good Morning Payson, and talk about their organizations or an issue of interest in the community.
"Town Manager Fred Carpenter comes in once a month to talk town business and play some music," Lu said.
Every Friday morning, KRIM has a trivia game they do in conjunction with the Mazatzal Casino to raise money for charities in town.
"When we connected with the casino, Mark Kaplan and I were able to iron out the details of our trivia game," Lu said. "For every correct answer, $10 is donated to a nonprofit."
KRIM and the casino have already raised more than $2,000 for organizations such as the Time Out Shelter, the Salvation Army and the Rim Country Literacy Program.
"Mark does a great job writing the trivia questions," Lu said. "We all have a good laugh and raise money for local charities."
John and Lu Carpino have been a complementary duo since they first harmonized on stage 20 years ago.
"John has his forte and I'm his sidekick," Lu said. "We make a good team."
John's creative ability and Lu's business savvy have resulted in Payson's very own community radio station -- the only one of its kind in the state.
KRIM 96.3 BROADCAST SCHEDULE
Monday through Friday
6 - 7 a.m., House Blend
7 - 10 a.m., "Good Morning Payson" with John and Lu Carpino.
10 a.m. - 6 p.m., KRIM's House Blend. A wonderful mix of light jazz, folk, blues and contemporary album cuts, spiced-up with some tasty hidden gems.
Monday through Sunday
6 - 7 p.m., KRIM's Classical Music Hour ... the music of the masters.
7 - 8 p.m., Big Band Serenade. The best in big band, swing & classic jazz
Monday through Thursday
8 p.m. - 12 Midnight, Jazz in the Pines.
Friday and Saturday
8 p.m. - 12 Midnight, T.G.I.F. & S. - Blues, Blues Rock and great Album Rock
6 - 9 a.m., Classical, Baroque and Renaissance
9 a.m. - 4 p.m., House Blend
4 - 5 p.m., The Arizona Music Scene
5 - 6 p.m., Local music spotlight
8 p.m. - 12 Midnight, Jazz in the Pines
6 a.m. - 2 p.m., The "Acoustic Siesta" ... our finest blend of acoustic music.
2 - 4 p.m., Bluegrass, Folk and Americana.
4 - 6 p.m., Reggae Under the Rim, Reggae & World Music
Seven days a week
12 midnight - 6 a.m., The Night Shift ....Blues, Cool Jazz, Folk and Americana
Thank You Thursdays and Flashback Fridays on Good Morning Payson, "Just Ask Lu" Wednesdays at 9 a.m., plus "Trivia Time," Fridays at 10 a.m.