The Volunteer Who Keeps 35,000 CDs In Alphabetical Order

Sometimes, it's the littlest details that need attention.

And that's why a dedicated volunteer can truly make a big difference, especially at Nevada City community radio station KVMR 89.5 FM.

For the past 15, yup, count 'em, 15 years, John Stabile has almost single-handedly put stickers with the first four letters of a recording artist's name on the spine of the compact disc package and filed them alphabetically in the station's massive music library.

Um, that would be an estimated 35,000 discs, with thousands more he's lettered that have later left the library for music sales.

"Sometimes there's 25 to do, sometimes there's 100 (a week)," Stabile smiled. "I do them all by hand."

The wife of a former KVMR broadcaster had started the re-alphabetization of the library but didn't have the time to really take on the massive, ongoing project.

"I had some time off work so I came in and decided to attack it," recalled Stabile, who's careful to recycle all of his materials and even uses leftover stickers from membership drives.

"It was definitely time intensive to get it (the library) in order. Organizing it all and then keeping it that way was a big job."

He credits Catholic school as a kid, too.  "That's where the printing technique came from."

And  yes, the job can get frustrating when discs are misfiled, left out or taken home by mistake.

"But there's a real sense of satisfaction, too," John noted. "When people ask me where something is, I can generally go in there and find it for them."

Oh, there's one quirk in Stabile's labeling.

His favorite music artist is roots singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams, and he puts a "LW" on any album on which she appears as a guest performer.

"And there's quite a few, and in a number of different genres, too," the Pasadena native beamed.

A substitute volunteer broadcaster at the station, Stabile always manages to include "some Lucinda" in shows where he calls himself "the fool on the hill."

In addition to KVMR (where he was named "Volunteer of the Year" in 2003), John is a volunteer "River Ambassador" for the South Yuba River Citizens League, where he tries to talk river visitors into helping keep the river clean and educate them on packing out their glass, trash and even cigarette butts.

A professional truck driver, Stabile was drawn to KVMR when he tired of commercial radio and asked a neighbor, "Is there anything decent on the radio around here?"

There was, and he's still listening.

Jarosz Live On KVMR

22-year-old Sarah Jarosz has already made quite a name for herself as a country/roots music artist from Texas, including Grammy nominations for best folk music album, best American roots song and best country instumental performance in the past couple of years.

Not bad for an Austin kid who was still in high school when she signed her first recording contract in 2009.

Jarosz arrives in the area a day early to perform in studio on KVMR around 3:30 p.m. during the station's popular "Rockin' & Stompin'" show  this Saturday (89.5 FM, kvmr.org streaming)

The Sugar Hill Records artist will be in concert Sunday night at the Center for the Arts, Grass Valley.

(A weekly wrap-up of news and oddities about community radio station KVMR (89.5 FM, kvmr.org streaming), a noncommercial station offering diverse musical programming, independent news and provocative public affairs from about 150 volunteer "citizen-broadcasters."  A video about the station's new building is at vimeo.com/63303996  Complete program listings are available at kvmr.org )