Broadcaster Cheri Snook has covered a lot of ground since she graduated from the KVMR Broadcasting Class in 2000. From bringing Alaskan sensation, The Photon Band, to Nevada City in 2001, to co-producing the Spearhead concert at the Grass Valley Veterans Memorial Hall Spring of 2002, to producing KVMR's 5-day Live Broadcast at the Nevada County Fair, and creating the Silver Stage for 3 years, to engineering and producing for a variety of live shows, KVMR NightLIVE and special programming, introducing new artists from Alaska, along with shining the light on local artists here in Nevada County--to being on-call 24-7. Cheri devotes most of her spare time volunteering where needed at KVMR to support its continued success.
Born in Reno and raised on the beaches of Lake Tahoe, she followed her older brother Dean, the wood wizard of Alaska, to Alaska, where she encountered the music scene, which she shares on the KVMR airwaves. "When you have time without modern conveniences and disturbances and so much unspoiled beauty, it's easy to find the words and tunes for creative expression."
"Musicians from Alaska tour the lower 48 but yearn to return home before long. Mostly you will find them touring outside Alaska during the winter. You can hear a variety of genres of music and stories and Alaska news from Akradio.org on Universal Tapestry. Listeners that call in have stories and memories of Alaska and relive those memories through the music I play."
Cheri did not set out to become a broadcaster. In fact, after a period of time in New York, she turned off radio because of the frenetically paced commercialism she encountered on stations there. She moved to Nevada City 1993 with her two girls and found herself living next door to KVMR when it was based at the Miners Foundry Cultural Center. She and her daughters would gather together every Thursday evening to listen to Old Radio Theatre. Through those delightful evenings she learned what a rich communication experience community radio could offer.
In 2000, Cheri decided to take the Broadcaster Training Class and afterward did stints on Red-Eye Radio and subbed for other broadcasters whenever she could. Her first actual show was almost a disaster.
Scheduled on December 26, 2000, to debut with a special on Alaska, Alaska Music Magazine, she had ordered a large number of CDs from Alaska for her show.
KVMR had effectively promoted her post-Christmas special. When December 26 dawned, accompanied by the arrival of only one lonely CD in the mail, featuring Christmas music, Cheri panicked. Barely two hours before Showtime, a special delivery arrived with CDs and "Best of Luck" from Alaska's Surreal Studios emblazoned on the package. Her broadcast career was launched with a successful special, and she's been busy ever since.
Cheri's favorite Alaskan performers are Melissa Mitchell & Larry Zarella, who have performed several times in Nevada County. Both have gained quite a Nevada County following due to Cheri's promotional efforts. Melissa Mitchell received a generous grant from Alaska's Rasmussen Foundation for her music and relationship with the Arts Program at New Folsom. Congrat's Miss Soul Sister! Jim Carlson Arts Facilitator at the prison has embraced Alaskan singer and songwriter Buddy Tabor's music and shared his music with locals in Folsom, Jim had his hand in a recent performance in a local Body Shop in Sacramento with generous support and sponsored by Sherwin Williams.
Cheri's ideal live broadcast would be to produce an Alaskan Music Festival in Nevada County. This ideal has led to Open Door Productions, where a variety of artists from Alaska perform here, and the door is open for local artist to play in Alaska. Such as the long month tour created with the local Ginger Ninjas in 2004, a grand success for both musicians and the listeners of Alaska received a dose of what we have to offer from KVMR. Cheri emceed at the annual Forest Fair headlining was the Ginger Ninja's and National Artist Borina Mapaka. The journey was a never-ending experience, though our trailer caught on fire on the way to Homer, we sustained some damage and we kept on going to make it to the Homer shows. A month we will never forget. Take a listen to our Whole Wheat Radio party: http://www.wholewheatradio.org/wiki/index.php/Artists:Ginger_Ninjas
When the Photon Band appeared at the Miners Foundry fall 2001, Community Radio of Girdwood AK broadcasted it live via the web. Also this past summer when Cheri visited Girdwood, she was invited to broadcast on Alaska Sunrise 6 straight hours of the Nevada City music scene in reciprocation. Each summer the annual visit to the Forest Fair brings home more than 36 hours of fresh music from the Alaska music scene. The regular listening audience knows and loves this time of year as the spirit of Alaska comes home to KVMR to be shared.
What does Cheri value most about KVMR? The way its programming reaches out to everyday people giving them emotional support, the way it provides a reality network away from the mainstream sea of manufactured media hype. Cheri feels that the main challenge for community radio is to maintain quality programming. She is extremely grateful to be associated with KVMR, which she considers an example for other community radio stations nation-wide.
Cheri is often asked, "What is Alaska music?" She simply replies, "It's Alaskans, who create music in Alaska". On KVMR she offers to educate the "lower 48" that Alaska is more than snow and ice for 9 months, through the stories told by diary entries, poems and song and news. www.aprn.org my deepest of gratitude goes out to all Alaskan's far and wide who help provide excellent programming. The music that has kept me connected to a land I dearly love has exploded into endless possibilities to provide the building of a bridge into a maximum-security prison to the local community providing gifts of music, poetry and art in exchange.
The gift of this friendship with Alaska continues to provide the connection to community and the society on the whole, such as the recent Historical broadcast of Michael Franti and Spearhead live inside New Folsom Prison 11/24/05. Executive Producer Cheri Snook created a first time ever recorded and aired same day broadcast on KVMR Radio. Exceeding the maximum listener's on the World Wide Web, stations across the country all the way to Alaska broadcast it from their own community stations! A grand success for all. To the next success with Michael Franti Solo Acoustic show benefit for New Folsom's Inside Circle Foundation, took place June 30 2006 in Grass Valley. A packed show with music, art and auction and poetry, the community of heart bridging a message "they are not forgotten.""
On the greater scale, the work with Arts in Correction at CSP-SAC with Jim Carlson and the very cooperative staff, has not only provided an exchange, but a view from the inside that change is possible and is occurring each day as long as there are programs available to help rehabilitation. We as a society, working to benefit, to provide support to help better a society that should not be forgotten. As 90% of these men and women behind bars walk out of prison each day. I would only hope we as a community have helped where help is needed so we can be a more productive people here and now.
"One of the gravest mistakes made currently make in the criminal justice system is that we have no mechanism in place to determine who is who. We currently have no way to determine who is really trying to salvage their lives and those who are just too broken to care any longer. As a result they are all treated the same, and at the lowest denominator. Unfortunately, the publics perception of people in prison is fueled by press coverage that focuses on the dramatic stories that get rating, the current popularity of our elected officials receive at the ballot box by espousing how hard they are on crime and the public misconception that the easiest way to address criminality is through tougher sentencing laws and retribution.
What no one seems to be addressing is that in truth the vast majority of the men and women in our prisons will one day be back out here among us. It is a ticking time bomb. They will all be much worse off than when they went in. Almost nothing is being done to change their behavior or prepare them to return to us healthier. The vast majority come out much more violent and unable to adjust to even the simplest social interactions. It amazes me every time a news story comes out when someone is released from prison, commits some abhorrent crime and everyone is appalled. It's completely predictable. They are near incapable of reacting in any other way given the way they have lived and the treatment they received in prison. The situation is only going to get worse unless we make the hard choices to do whatever it takes to help them while they are still inside prison, instead of taking the illusionary short term answer and just locking them up for longer terms. This is a very complex problem that will require fresh, innovative strategies and a real commitment from our society as a whole to implement any real, meaningful long term solutions."
In this journey through Kvmr Radio's support, we provide what is a rare and unique opportunity to continue this bridge, that the turning of the wheel of change is at hand, and may we all deliver the greater good as a community to change the system on a whole.
My greatest of gratitude and thanks to all Alaskan's who help provide this avenue of change through Universal Tapestry Radio Show.
As we walk this path together, may our minds stay open and we live from heart and spirit, and watch the miracles of life unfold together.