with Courtney Cook

The KVMR Story


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

KVMR provides community members opportunities to connect through the development and production of music, news, and public affairs programs that entertain, inform, and educate.

KVMR Vision Statement

KVMR gives voice to the community and celebrates the music of the world.

KVMR Core Values

In all of its undertakings, including the content and manner of radio broadcasts as well as business dealings internally and with the wider community, KVMR is committed to the following set of core values:

  • Is volunteer-based and listener-supported.
  • Encourages free and open communication.
  • Promotes positive social values.
  • Honors and encourages creativity.
  • Fosters an inclusive community.
  • Allows expression of views that diverge from the mainstream.
  • Strives to respect all individuals and institutions and to act in a way to earn respect.
  • Is committed to transparency and uncompromising integrity in its operations.