Indie Pop & Counter-Programming Among KVMR Offshoot's Offerings
This Saturday could be one of the biggest days in radio station KVMR's history.
Or it could just be the "beta launch" of a new, millenial-oriented online stream the Nevada City community radio station is experimenting with to create new listenership, says 27-year-old KVMR Music Director Sean Dooley-Miller, not wanting to make too much of the soft opening.
"Really, we're just simply testing a new online stream," Dooley-Miller adds. "We're moving more and more onto an online world, and this is providing its local spin on it."
"People have virtually unlimited options to listen to stuff on the web, but to hear something curated by your neighbors and your friends, well, that's what KVMR can do so well."
Maybe that's why while the Yonder Mountain String Band's newgrass was playing last Saturday on KVMR, you could hear Marvin Gaye on KVMRx, the moniker for the forthcoming new stream.
But isn't Marvin Gaye pretty Old School for this younger audience thing?
"Sure," smiles Sean, "but it's brilliant counter-programming (to bluegrass)."
"Here's the deal," he says. "We've got maybe 25 people who are willing to take chances, even make mistakes in hopes that something creative, innovative and catchy will come out of it."
OWN PROGRAM COMMITTEE
KVMRx has its own Program Committee, there are maybe 16 from a special training class who'll be going on air, many recruited by the station for their tastes in indie pop and other music. About a half dozen current KVMR-FM broadcasters will start new shows on the stream as well.
And naming "rights" went to the class and committee, on purpose.
"Most of the time, this isn't gonna be their parents' rock'n'roll, except what they think is relevant," quips KVMR Program Director Steve Baker. "We've purposely kept hands off. We're not gonna be the damn parent who tells them to 'Turn it down'."
According to Baker, "It's what these courageous KVMRx-ers want it to be. And that's what we want it to be."
Dooley-Miller, meanwhile, cites the highly successful indie-rock New Jersey station WFMU.
"They're providing us a stark contrast," gleams Sean. "While still reflecting the culture they grew up with, they (WFMU) are setting the framework for multiple streams."
He's guessing KVMRx will have around 12 hours of original programming a day as they kick things off. Other times will feature automated music curated by Dooley-Miller and others until a full schedule can be assembled.
Overall, it'll decidedly be music, with talk clips, not talk shows, being part of the stream's sound.
Most of the original live programming will take place in what had been the station's control room for its community room programming. But it's been under-utilized, and now you could say it's been slightly re-purposed.
"We assembled or scrounged electronic donations from various places," says KVMR Chief Engineer Dave (Buzz) Barnett. "We even resurrected a turntable."
No, of course, Barnett didn't do much. Yeah, right.
"Okay, we rewired the studios to accommodate the new audio, built and configured a couple of new computers and expanded the capacity of an ever growing digital music library..."
Not bad to expand the use of what was originally intended to be the engineering studio for concerts in KVMR's community room a couple years back.
"We'll be streaming KVMRx itself by two open source programs in both mp3 and high quality aac formats," says Barnett.
"It doesn't get much more fun than putting all of this together," he adds.
Like maybe in the future... the hoped-for KVMR alternative channel, an all news/public affairs/talk stream, maybe an all live music component...
Says Program Director Baker, "I like how those involved with KVMRx chose the last letters to be Rx."
"It makes it sound like it's our prescription for new, great radio in a creative future."
AND THE POET LAUREATE IS...
Just a reminder KVMR -- in cooperation with the Nevada County Arts Council -- will be broadcasting the conclusion of the first annual Sierra Poetry Festival from Sierra College this Saturday (April 1) 4 p.m. to approximately 6:30 p.m.
During this special broadcast, California Poet Laureate Dana Gioia will read, as well as former state poet laureate Al Young, former county residents Charles and Gail Rudd Entrekin, British poet Genny Lim, MK Chavez, Nevada County's Molly Fisk and Sands Hall, plus others.
The Arts Council will also name -- for the first time -- a Nevada County Poet Laureate live during the broadcast.