Just as KVMR 89.5 FM prepares to turn the same age comedian Jack Benny always purported to be -- 39 -- well, a youthful spirit is bubbling under the surface.
Nevada City noncommercial radio station is preparing to launch what's currently called KVMR2, a new fulltime web stream aimed at broadening audience by offering content for millenials and other younger-minded listeners.
Not only that, they're seeking -- and recruiting -- a fresh crop of potential volunteer broadcasters to attend a pair of classes about the new online service on two Saturdays, January 28 and February 4th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
"We're fully energized to announce the launching of our newest venture, a web stream entity to be run of, by and for younger-minded listeners," says KVMR General Manager Julie Chiarelli. "We're looking for cutting edge people interested in breaking new ground in broadcasting with an appeal to new and engaged music and ideas."
This unique training class will be taught by KVMR's Music Director, Sean Miller and by KVMR broadcasters Elisa Parker and Greg Jewett, who have led the station classes together since 2013.
"It's been a labor of love, a bringing in of new energy and ideas with each group of students," recalls Jewett. "And now we hope to really forge a new path with a younger, dynamic voice with many who haven't typically been included in the KVMR family."
The station held a pair of feedback sessions with volunteer broadcasters about a second web stream of content and music, then put together a younger focus group to look at what they'd see in the proposed web stream.
"Frankly, we want to capture a younger generation before they simply turn the radio off," adds Program Director Steve Baker. "Yet I envision an additional web stream of news and talk components only for all ages, maybe another that is dedicated to live music programming, maybe one that's all video..."
Now don't worry about KVMR's terrestrial signal, says 27-year-old Music Director Sean Miller, a key player in the KVMR2 talks.
"We can offer these younger-oriented audiences what they want and will support by finding and serving their needs, while maintaining the high quality of our continuing over-the-air signal, which will likely continue to be our major source of listenership."
And Chiarelli emphasizes the station's annual training class for KVMR's 89.5 FM service will be held as usual, in the Spring. "We have a constant need for new people of all stripes and ages to become vital parts of our always changing radio service, and that class is our best way to find them."
To Jewett, it's simple, sort of like KVMR icon and the late folksinger/activist U. Utah Phillips saying the past didn't go anywhere.
"We all need to embrace that mindset, yet realize the past was once the future and the only thing constant in the universe is change. What now may seem comfortable was once radical. What now may seem edgy will eventually become mainstream."
According to Jewett, his KVMR2 vision is "a voice of, by and for a new daring generation willing to take risks."
"We need to do that, to reinvent ourselves constantly or we fall behind. We become irrelevant."
Rest assured, KVMR 89.5 FM's current mix of diverse music programming and independent news and public affairs isn't going away from the terrestrial signal, by any means, according to Baker.
"Most of this is simply to provide current listeners more alternatives and also to attract new younger thinkers to a web stream where they can learn to appreciate the value of something like KVMR," explains Baker.
Hey, this KVMR2 thing is starting to sound more and more interesting.
KNOW & GO
WHO: KVMR 89.5 FM Radio
WHAT: KVMR2 Web Stream Training Class designed for millennials & younger-minded listeners
WHEN: Saturdays, Jan. 28 & Feb. 4, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
WHERE: Miss Rumpius' Community Room, KVMR, 120 Bridge at Spring streets, Nevada City
COST: $60, including complimentary one-year KVMR membership
McCUTCHEON'S KVMR CONNECTION
John McCutcheon loves to call Nevada County his "home away from home," and he credits the late fellow folksinger/storyteller U. Utah Phillips for it.
"The first time I played here, he knew I was coming here essentially to see him," says McCutcheon. "But Utah knew I would fall in love with KVMR and this whole area, which I have done."
"As evidenced by the fact that Utah is no longer here," McCutcheon continues. "But KVMR is, so am I and we're going to celebrate" with the community Sunday night at the Center for the Arts. (See page XX for information on McCutcheon and the concert.)