KVMR’s Keith Porter: A Man Of Many Volunteer Hats
Written by Steve Baker on April 9, 2020
Keith Porter has been used to wearing a variety of volunteer hats, and now he’s wearing several different ones at the same time at KVMR 89.5 FM as well.
The latest is providing top of the hour afternoon reports several times on Wednesday and weekends about the local and regional coronavirus pandemic and related news and topics.
“It’s a listener service that needs to be done,” said Porter. “I’m learning more and more about journalism and hoping to get better.”
Porter is relieving Program Director Steve Baker, who is doing the other four afternoons.
Currently, morning top of the hour updates feature KVMR General Manager Ali Lightfoot, fellow volunteers Joyce Miller and Claudio Mendonca, with news producer Charlotte Peterson doing weekend mornings.
“I asked Joyce to be my coach,” noted Porter.
Good choice, she’s a former editor at the Los Angeles Times.
A SAGES SHOW
Porter was first drawn to KVMR when he and some other graduates of the Nevada County Community Leadership Institute were looking for ways to let people know about a book called “The Sages Among Us: Harnessing The Power Of Civic Engagement.”
KVMR’s Ralph Henson, then a station program committee member, got intrigued and asked Baker to attend a meeting about a possible “Sages Among Us” radio series.
It got a quick go-ahead in 2013, and over 325 different guests have since been interviewed by founding hosts Porter, Norm Westmore and Brian Buckley. Joyce Miller later joined the crew and now serves as producer.
Henson still alternates as engineer on the show, which airs 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays (89.5 FM, 105.1 FM Truckee, kvmr.org streaming).
One of Porter’s other interests is classical music, and he served seven years as board president of In-Concert Sierra.
That, too, led to another involvement with KVMR as Henson suggested that classical music return to KVMR. Porter, representing In-Concert Sierra, and Music In The Mountains representatives found KVMR’s Program Committee happy and eager to bring it back to the 89.5 FM airwaves.
So KVMR made a weekly 5 p.m. Sunday commitment to classical music once again, this time with newcomers Porter and Charles Atthill among the hosts
Last December, Porter, in fact, won KVMR’s “Rookie Of The Year Award” for his classical music programming and overnight Redeye Radio, and also won the Jodie Fenimore Award for KVMR public affairs programming along with his “Sages Among Us” colleagues.
Born in Los Angeles, Porter actually found himself in Nevada County when his parents bought property outside Cedar Ridge and built a house there in 1950.
Then his father became a Methodist “supply pastor”, a layperson who becomes a minister in time, and was assigned Sunday services in Downieville mornings and Sierra City afternoons.
“I’d thought living in Nevada City/Grass Valley was in a small town until I found Downieville a real small town over four years,” said Porter. “Nevada City and Grass Valley were the big cities then.”
Later he went to college at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, getting a degree in electrical engineering.
He went on to a job with Pacific Bell/AT&T, including 4 years in New York City working near the new World Trade Center, decades before 9/11.
Porter served in a variety of other locations, got early retirement, did some overseas work before coming back here to his family property in 2004, when he oversaw a remodeling of his late parents’ home.
“It’s seven acres of pears and brush,” he grinned.
That’s when his volunteer adventures really began here.
Like The Sages.
“It’s one third of who they are, why they’re here, what they do in the community and one third broader things about the community and one third what it does well and how we could do it better”, according to Porter.
“I’ve had a lot of fun volunteering in this place,” he said with a smile. “Like I ended up the chair of of the facility committee at the Center For The Arts a few years ago and helped in the planning for their new building.”
Like many others, he’s worrying about the Center’s fate. “But this is a good and caring community, I see them surviving.”
“I’m also worried about about our restaurants and service providers,” he said. “Many of them may have problems surviving, or closing and later being able to reopen.”
Meanwhile, he’s impressed with KVMR.
“What a valuable public service it is to have KVMR,” he said. “I’m honored to help.”