KVMR Celebrates 43 years of Community Radio!

Written by on July 13, 2021

Surprise! It’s KVMR’s 43rd Birthday! Birthdays are a time to celebrate milestones and set intentions. And so, we reflect on KVMR’s humble origins: starting with 10 watts and in an 8′ x 12′ toolshed on top of a mountain, we’ve come a long way baby. We grew into what the community needed, a full-fledged station with a professional staff, volunteer educational opportunities, a state-of-the-art facility with a glorious 1895 watts over 4 translators, and we’ve even added fresh, experimental 105.7 Grass Valley with its own 250 watts.

Back in the early days, some folks couldn’t envision the future magic KVMR would conjure, thinking, “This town doesn’t have enough people to support a radio station, don’t waste your time!” But other folks dreamt big with an eye on the horizon and said, “What do we have to lose but time, money, and sanity? Let’s go for it!” The KVMR family was born.

All of the morning hosts circa 1982. Former Music Director and longtime world music host BD Colwell (front middle, with glasses and hat), Laura Sklar-Oates (still on the air with “Early Bird Gets The Worm”) fifth from left, and on the very far right, Laura Miller (still on the air with “Diamonds & Rust”).

Now, 43 years later, Nevada County is host to 4 major festivals, has a thriving arts scene, 1000s of non-profits have sprung up in town, and we’re a destination for far-flung folks to come admire the beautiful gem, Our Town. Many a once-thriving mining hub has withered into a dried anachronism or morphed into a series of strip malls, but that didn’t happen here.

Thomas Greener (Ragged But Right), Eric Rice (County Line Bluegrass), Wesley Robertson, Rick Snelson (Hard Country), and Mark Staneart defend the perimeter from disco outside the studios at the AVM about 30-odd years ago…

KVMR began as a beacon for creative people to find each other, for rural folks to connect through music, as a platform for shared values and community. And that’s exactly what happened. To everyone and anyone who has ever donated time, money, music, love, ideas to KVMR over the years, THANK YOU. You Made This Happen. This rare little slice of public air is your legacy too. And, if you’ve been meaning to show your support, it’s never too late. Now’s the perfect time to pitch in to protect and nurture community radio. If you’d like to send a birthday present, cash fits perfect, DONATE HERE.

Not sure when this photo of phone answerers at a pledgedrive was taken, but that former deejay and local gadabout Mike Meals is the height of fashion with his Duran Duran tee-shirt and Adam Ant make up.

To celebrate our 43rd birthday, local artist Jess Riegel created a fun, irreverent, retro design to celebrate good times with our Ice Cream Tank Top. KVMR gives you the gift of friends and neighbors, great music and emergency info everyday, 365 days a year, for 43 years. If you’d like to give us a surprise birthday present this year, and get the super limited-edition unisex tank top, we get it, let’s do this. Here’s to 43 more!


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