After two years of planning by Sacramento visionary, Lee Amundsen, KVMR signed on the air on July 14, 1978. KVMR first operated under the umbrella of the Nevada City-based non-profit, The American Victorian Museum (AVM). Deriving its name from Victorian Museum Radio, KVMR first broadcast from a small miner's shack on nearby Banner Mountain, at just 20 watts, four hours a day.
In 1981, KVMR found a home at the Museum, upgraded its power and began broadcasting 24 hours a day. Drawing from a rich pool of local talent, KVMR’s programming quickly began to incorporate live, in-studio performances. The popularity of these live broadcasts spurred a small crew of broadcasters to launch a regular live-broadcast performance series from the stage at the AVM. By the mid- to late 1980s, KVMR’s nominal board formed an independent non-profit organization and purchased the station from the failing AVM. In 1989, ownership of the station was transferred to the Nevada City Community Broadcast Group (NCCBG), KVMR’s first Board of Directors. Since the mid 1990s, KVMR has matured to adopt a business structure supported with sound policies and prudent fiscal management.
An upgrade of the station’s broadcast facility in 1999 dramatically improved KVMR’s regional signal quality. Although studios and offices are located in Nevada City, the KVMR community is better defined by the wide range of its signal, which is broadcast from Banner Mountain from 3,861 feet above sea level resulting in a signal equivalent to 6,000 watts output at sea level. KVMR serves listeners throughout the Northern California Sierra foothills and the greater Sacramento Valley on 89.5 FM and the Truckee/Tahoe region on 105.1 FM. KVMR is also available via live web stream anywhere in the world twenty-four hours a day at www.kvmr.org. KVMR’s unduplicated audience is 40,000, two thirds of who live outside of Nevada County. KVMR has become the official Emergency Broadcast station of Nevada County, with a live broadcaster in the studio 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The station has a small staff of 10 and a few contract staff, but the majority of the station operates with the generous time of volunteers, over 700 of them, of which 150 are broadcasters.
Historically, KVMR recognizes that the “community” it serves is not defined by only geography, but by shared values. Throughout its life, KVMR has not sought to serve a geographic area (i.e., the “local” community), but only those in its target geographic area who share its values. KVMR recognizes that its potential community resides in a broad geographic area, as defined by the reach of its terrestrial signal, and KVMR has grown over the years to focus on serving that broader geographic community.
KVMR Mission Statement
A vibrant community is well informed and involved, embraces diversity, respectfully shares opinions and fosters economic and social justice. KVMR builds community by bringing people together to celebrate the music of the world and give voice to the community.
KVMR Core Values Statement
As a community, KVMR:
- Is volunteer-based and listener-supported.
- Encourages free and open communication with an emphasis on cultural diversity and material often ignored by commercial media.
- Promotes positive social values including equality, diversity, non-violence, a sustainable environment, and social and economic justice.
- Honors and encourages creativity in programming, providing opportunities for the innovative, the experimental, and the traditional.
- Fosters an inclusive community that includes a wide geographic area, while encouraging local access and involvement.
- Has the courage and integrity to allow expression of views that diverge from the mainstream.