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How This Award Winner Developed A Love Affair For Radio

For KVMR 89.5 FM volunteer broadcaster Kim Rogers, it was a series of short steps that's led to one big, double-award winning radio plunge.

She discovered the eclectic Nevada City station by accident driving around one day when she and her son were surprised to hear "our favorite stuff" on radio.

After awhile, her interest in the station led her to look into doing graphics for advertisers in station's listener guide.

"I've always been one of those people who made song lists in my head, you know, what would sound good one after another," she recalled. "But I never thought I'd ever be on air.  I was too shy for that."

Gradually, after meeting and becoming friends with other KVMR broadcasters, she took the volunteer-driven station's training class.

"I only thought I'd be a sub sometimes," Rogers continued, "but it was way too much fun and I found I loved it (being on the air) and wanted my own show."

For the past dozen years or so, she's now become the popular host of "Good Stuff", heard Thursday afternoons 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. (89.5 FM, kvmr.org streaming) where she plays what she considers to be, surprise, good stuff.

She also revels in having both regional and national artists perform live in studio during the show.

"I  never would have dreamed I'd grow up to interview some of my musical idols. I can talk to musicians I admire  now without my knees shaking," she said with a smile.

With an emphasis on singer-songwriters, Americana and roots music, Kim's reputation has grown such over the years that she's only one of two KVMR broadcasters to have won the John Nichols Music Achievement Award twice, an honor named for a late station music director who helped craft the station's sound.

She's also a volunteer music reviewer for the station, handling 60 to 80 releases a month at times. And she's an active on-air part of the station's well-known live remote broadcasts.

"It's a mixed blessing," she admitted. "I can review it at home, I get to find and hear the 'good stuff', but the hardest thing is (reviewing) mediocre music."

The suburban Chicago native is a graphic designer by career with her KIM ART Graphics company.  But sometimes staring at a computer screen for long hours under tight deadlines gets to Rogers.

"Once a week I just have to pull my head out of the computer," she explained. "That's when I come in to the studio to do my show and can just close the door and play two hours of my (musical) favorites."

For the past five years, she also likes making time to practice and play pedal steel guitar, an instrument few women seek to learn.

"Serious twan is an acquired taste," Kim admitted. "I needed to make it myself in my own living room. "

She admits she moved around a lot in her younger years before settling here in 1985.  Chicago was too big; Mad River, that California town of 35 people, way too small.

"For awhile, I never thought I'd find my utopia," she said with a laugh, "but Grass Valley is a perfect balance of small town and big culture."

"So much going on all the time...it's hard to keep up. "

(A weekly wrap-up of news and oddities about community radio station KVMR (89.5 FM, kvmr.org streaming), a noncommercial station offering diverse musical programming, independent news and provocative public affairs from about 150 volunteer "citizen-broadcasters."  A video about the station's new building is at vimeo.com/63303996  Complete program listings are available at kvmr.org )