KVMR's 'High Priestess' of Podcasting Scores Bill Nye Coup

You see, it sorta comes with the late night territory. 

A lot of people turn in early on Sunday nights and miss Meri St. Mary's The Underground Sound (alternate Sundays, 10 p.m. to midnight) on KVMR. 

But her appeal goes far beyond KVMR's terrestrial signal and live streaming.

So she came up with this idea of podcasting her interviews, way back in 2010, with then-station webmaster John Button in tow.

And the rest is KVMR social media history, where she's already won the Nevada City radio station's special "High Priestess of Podcasting" award, among others. 

You see, Meri is the station's resident punk diva, someone who was in the middle of the new wave and punk scenes in both, yeah, both Los Angeles and San Francisco back in the day.

That gives her a rolodex, er, 21st century cell phone full of contacts and friends and potential guests for her show. 

"Yeah, I've been part of the punk movement for like 35 years or so," she says. "My interviews, well, these are people who have a 20 or 30 or more year body of work. There's never a dull moment. They've got lots to say."

 

CELEBRITY IN TOWN

Most recently, it actually wasn't a punk, but a sorta science nerd who not only appeared in a taped interview on her show but was the Nevada City Film Festival celebrity in town. 

An old friend and executive producer of the documentary "Bill Nye: Science Guy", Henry Rosenthal, contacted Meri to say they'd be here for its Festival, with the film opening in 20 cities next month.

In between Festival screenings,  Meri sneaked Bill Nye himself over to KVMR's studios for a nearly 40 minute interview...raucous, wild, infectious, unfettered and alive. Yet when he talked about his diet, when he talked about his parents and their roles in World War II and when he tied bow ties for all the volunteer male waiters at a women's athletic dinner...and got the girl he was eying to talk to him, well, it was especially sweet.

"I fall in love with whoever I'm interviewing," admits Meri. "But when it's over, it's over."

Awww.

Of course, you missed it last Sunday. But you can still hear it, whenever you want. 

That's the beauty of podcasts, notes Meri, and particularly this one of Nye. 

"Bill Nye was a major influence on my son, now 31, and to see this complete view of his life was worth it," according to Meri. "He was smart, gracious and...lovely."

So, yes, you can hear it, even when Nye notes "I'm an engineer and an actor, I've never said I'm a scientist."

It's on KVMR's ongoing archives from 10 a.m. Sunday, November 17 -- archive.kvmr.org -- and on the station's podcast archive. To hear Meri's interview with Bill Nye, click here.

And who knows just how many wannabe listeners will go to the kvmr.org archives and podcasts for downloads?

But ten grand of them --over 10,500, to be exact -- came to KVMR to hear the German "Kraut Rock" Faust band survivors Jean and Zappi after Meri and KVMR Music Director Sean Dooley-Miller  barreled down to catch a rare 2016 performance and  she did an interview that Faust, well, just normally just don't do.

 

WEIRD DIVE, FAUST FANATICS

"They were in a weird dive, my kind of place," recalls a smiling Meri. "Half the crowd were insane Faust fanatics, and half the crowd were just there to drink."

"They (Faust) rarely play, they don't do interviews," notes St. Mary. "They're my favorite sort of avant garde and surrealism."

"I like being in the right place at the right time, and you just get to roll with it."| 

Other popular webcasts -- still available through Meri or the show The Underground Sound on kvmr.org  -- include Lydia Lunch, John Doe, David Thomas of Pere Ubu, the band Blue Cheer, Keith Levene of PiL and, yeah, many others. Some have topped the 5,000 mark.

Okay, some of them aren't everyday names. But they have strong followings online. The numbers at http://www.kvmr.org/show/underground-sound  don't lie.

"I have many famous friends, meaning they're famous in the cult sense," Meri explains. "But  cult people have built a way to connect with one another through social media. That's where these astounding numbers are coming from..."

Hey, she's not a high priestess for nothing.

Meri St. Mary interviews Bill Nye "The Science Guy" with KVMR's Jenny Michael (middle) videoing in the KVMR studio. Photo by Jake Michael