with Art Porebski

How A Radio Lover Got Behind The Microphone at KVMR

Mike Bissell just plain "grew up loving radio," he says. 

The KVMR Wednesday Morning Show (7 a.m. to 10 a.m.) host remembers the Top 40 rock station era, of course, but he particularly liked how San Francisco's freeform early '70s station KSAN "made a radio era that was really exciting." 

A few years later, KSAN was gone and Bissell says he "just got disgusted with music of the '70s and '80s." And stopped listening to radio. 

A move to Weimar in 1984 changed things. 

"I rediscovered radio through KVMR, and i started listening to music again," notes Bissell. "What KVMR was playing in the '80s was so much better than what I'd heard in the '70s and '80s." 

Thus also grew a notion about being a broadcaster someday at a volunteer station...like KVMR. 

"I was spending too much of my life putting things on hold, " Bissell recalls.  "Then I bumped into (KVMR radio host) Larry Hillberg on Stevens Trail (near Colfax) and he told me there was a broadcaster training class starting soon at KVMR." 

"So I made the leap ." 

That was ten years ago.  Bissell got an early morning (4 a.m. to 7 a.m.) spot he called "Dawn Patrol" and, a couple years later, received the Wednesday Morning Show nod.

"It's definitely a variety show," admits Bissell. "It's a mixture of music and talk, things I'm interested in that also appeal to listeners so you sort of follow your interests and the music you love."

Like politics.

"I was reading a piece in the Sacramento Bee and noticed I agreed with this guy a lot."

That guy was -- and is -- Bruce Maiman,who now is a weekly feature on Bissell's show when Mike and he converse about a topic at 7:30 a.m.

"He's perfect. He knows radio, and he's done a lot of writing for radio."

Bissell enjoys prepping for interviews and springing knowledgeable questions. 

But he'd heard the late jazz artist Mose Allison was a tough cookie to crack on the air.

When Allison was scheduled, Bissell devised a plan. 

"Ever hear of (local jazz artist) Bill Douglass?" he asked Allison.

"Of course" was the jazz great's response. 


"Hi, Mose," said Bill Douglass, sitting in the studio with Bissell. 

"I liked comin' at it from a novel direction," explains Bissell. 

And the rest of the interview was light and fun, as Douglass and Allison traded stories.

Consider that one cookie that, indeed, got cracked.

Mike Bissell hosts the Wednesday Morning Show 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. each Wednesday on KVMR 89.5 FM



It seems KVMR listeners got the message to "Get Inspired" during the Nevada City radio station's on-air membership drive last week. 

470 of them donated over $56,000 -- and still counting -- to KVMR during the seven day drive. 

And for the second straight time, over 15% of those making contributions were new members with 71 joining the station for the first time. 

Thomas Greener's Saturday afternoon "Ragged But Right" and Paul Emery's "Tuesday Morning Show" raised the most money of individual shows.