Former KVMR Board of Directors Secretary
Prior to sometime in the early '90's, Gary Harrison had never called a radio station to talk to a broadcaster. Listening to KVMR changed all of that. "The humor, warmth, and good music I located on my car radio at 89.5 FM brought new listening adventures to my life." In 1996 Gary chased a dream buried from years ago to become a radio broadcaster by taking the summer- time broadcasting class offered by KVMR. After "Red Eye" radio stints and some substitute slots, Gary auditioned for and got an early-morning show twice a month. He named it "Carefree Highway," after a favorite song by one of his favorite singer-songwriters, Gordon Lightfoot. "It seemed like an appropriate name, especially thinking of all those KVMR listeners on the road to someplace."
Gary produced his last regular show in that time slot on an ominous date, Sept. 10, 2001. "One could not know the tragedy(s) that were to occur shortly, although I knew my personal circumstances would change dramatically, due to the ill health of my wife." Gary found that all of the events made KVMR a more important part of his life. His activities included two terms on the KVMR Board of Directors; broadcasting opportunities as a substitute and Gary continued his infatuation with radio and the connection to KVMR listeners. When a vacancy occurred in the alternating Wednesday 10:00 folk music slot, Gary applied and feels extremely fortunate to get a regular show. "I miss the early morning time-slot…there are great opportunities to program and connect with listeners, but early morning really is 'early!'"
After a career spent in education as a teacher, a principal, and a teacher union staff member, Gary retired in 2000 and moved from Auburn to the Grass Valley/Nevada City area. His career as a teacher, manager, organizer, and negotiator brought about learning's that have been put to good use at KVMR. "In all of these matters, you must learn to be a good listener…something I always have to strive to be. This causes me to focus as much as I can on playing good music for the listeners, and I try not to spend too much time "jawing" at them. As far as radio is concerned, first of all I am a listener."
Even though retired, Gary continues to work part-time and worked in a liaison role with the unions in the November 8, 2005, special election. "I often tire of politics but I know so much is at stake for the working people of this state and this country…I would rather be more active in local arenas, and KVMR is one of those outlets." Additionally, Gary is a board member for the Auburn Education Foundation, participates in the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program, and works on fund drives for the ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) Association, the AED, and the American Cancer Society.
Gary treasures the friends he has made through KVMR, including broadcasters, listeners, staff, board members and volunteers. "I started working in KVMR as a way to give back to the community, KVMR being 'community' radio, of course. In reality, I know I get much more from KVMR than I give. For all of this and more, I am grateful for the opportunities I have had with KVMR."
Gary is the former host of "Carefree Highway" where you heard American Roots music: folk, Americana, cowboy, Native American, and yes, a baseball folk song every now and then. Gary counts as his favorite current folk musicians Alison Krause, Iris DeMent, Eliza Gilkyson, James Kelaghan, John McCutcheon, and many more too numerous to name.