When asked if he feels like he’s in the hot seat, KVMR-FM Board President David Franco stands up, touches his chair, grins and says “it’s not too bad.”
Just about a year into his term heading the non-profit station’s Board of Directors, Franco and the board learned the beloved Julie Chiarelli was stepping down as General Manager of KVMR to take a job at Hospice Of The Foothills. A national search began immediately, with a September 28 application deadline.
“As President, I’m significantly more involved,” explained Franco. “Because you’re doing the simplest duties like signing checks, you end up involved in the heart of many, many things.
“So I’ve ended up spending a lot of time with Julie, going to events, I meet with her a lot,” he said. “She brings a unique set of skills to the job, and blending those together into an infrastructure that’s well run like this allows a creative broadcasting team to operate in a seamless manner.”
Franco characterizes a good non-profit as having “management that’s like concrete for the organization to stand on.”
And KVMR’s infrastructure is “so bloody good, we’ve got excess capacity with a whole new footprint out there.” An entirely new signal — called The Bridge 105.7 FM — is in its early days covering western Nevada County with news, ideas and culture by day — including NPR’s “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered” — and tomorrow’s music tonight (millennial-focussed indie pop from KVMRx).
“A (new) general manager can see that vision and understands the concept of community,” Franco continued. “If we’re not getting to some more people, we can if we do better work.”
A certified public accountant by trade, Franco said being a CPA often has led him down the road to non-profits. He cited work with the former group APPLE (Alliance for a Post Petroleum Local Economy) and, more recently, Sierra Harvest, “a great group that is helping our farmers.”
A couple years back, Franco found himself asked by a KVMR committee why he wanted to be on the radio station’s Board. He then turned the tables and asked the committee why they wanted to be on the Board.
“Diane McIntire impressed me with her passion for free speech,” he remembered. “She was just visceral about it, and I vibrated right off that.”
McIntire — a former Board President, current volunteer broadcaster and onetime owners’ representative for the station’s new building — is also actively working on the GM search.
A 30-year resident of Nevada County, Franco said he joined the Board because “I love the community.”
“I mean, I’m about as busy as you can get being a fulltime CPA. I love what I do. But I love being involved with KVMR. And because you love something, you manage to find the time to do it.”
And then there’s what he hears on the radio, particularly in the morning and early morning.
“I love music from a vast array of genres and some of these shows are really, really well done,” Franco noted. “I love to be surprised by quality music.”
And he’s impressed to see The Bridge 105.7 FM airing “Philosophy Talk” featuring Stanford professors at 9 a.m. Sunday mornings. He’d heard the podcast a few years back and now it’s here.
Well, he was originally a, yup, philosophy major at UCLA , only he figured he needed to learn a trade and was heading toward electronics repair when somebody suggested Franco try being a CPA.
“At first, I didn’t know what that was,” he admitted with a smile. “But I got totally hooked by the theory of accounting.”
And now here he is, a CPA with a love for community, for radio, and now a KVMR Board President with a big job in front of him and the board: the search for a new general manager for the station he loves.