It doesn’t take rocket science to do radio, but… |

It doesn’t take rocket science to do radio, but…

Special to Prospector

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to host a radio show, but it can't hurt either.

Meet Dennis Brunnenmeyer, onetime Aerojet rocket scientist, former Grass Valley Group engineer/manager and current program host and award-winning volunteer at KVMR 89.5FM, Nevada City.

"I discovered KVMR when I bought a new truck and, of course, had to wash and clean it," recalls Brunnenmeyer. "I turned on the radio for some music and there was (then-KVMR host) Ken Crow playing bluegrass."

It was 1982. And since he grew up in the midwest to bluegrass and country swing, added folk music in college, it was clear Brunnenmeyer had found his kind of radio station,

Later, according to Dennis, "the idea of being involved in broadcasting and music that I loved was compelling to say the least."

So he became a KVMR program host of the folk/acoustic music-based series "Nevada City Limits," now alternating 10 a,m.-noon Friday mornings with Laurie DesJardins' "The New Brick Road."

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Dennis often welcomes guest musicians into the studio to play and pick live on his show.

This week, it's a doozy.

Nashville's David Grier, a former three-time "guitarist of the year" winner for his work with Psychograss and others, will be there to promote his Friday night show at Sierra Mountain Coffee Roasters in Grass Valley with an in-studio performance during the 11 a.m. hour Friday (KVMR 89.5FM, streaming).

"He's definitely one of the best flatpick guitar players in the country," said Brunnenmeyer.

Brunnenmeyer and colleague John Adams were voted the station's 2011 co-volunteers of the year for their work on the station's new building and technical committees, as well as their dedication to the ongoing development of a digital music library for the noncommercial station.

"We knew we'd learn something."

And they have.

At a folk music conference a couple years ago, Dennis held up a compact disc and predicted, "These are going to be obsolete in 10 years."

"Half the people in the room didn't believe me, and the other half admitted 'This guy might be right'."

Brunnenmeyer loves to talk about the digital changes coming to the radio medium. Get him started on terms like robust, reliable, lossless, metadata, open source … and he's off to the technological races as his eyes light up on the subject.

"When it comes to that, the proper term for me is probably evangelist," he jokes.

Another volunteer activity Brunnenmeyer and Adams share is their behind-the-scenes work on the station's live remote broadcast crew. Next up for that is the broadcast next weekend (Sept. 28-29) of KVMR's Celtic Music Festival at the Nevada County Fairgrounds, beginning at 11 a.m. Sept. 28 (89.5 FM, streaming).

Or is it a Hullabaloo?

Lapping on the heels of the Celtic Festival is still another shindig to introduce and benefit the Bridge Street Project for KVMR's new building and the Nevada Theatre expansion in Nevada City's historic arts district at the Miner's Foundry Oct. 4.

Local favorites Buck Love and the Humperheads as well as James Carlson and the Steadyhand will join Sacramento funk band Joy and Madness for the special fundraiser.

Young Festival Pioneers

A pair of young 20-something promoters — Bennett Berardi and Jeff Murray — and their In Pulse Productions team raised some $800 for KVMR during last Sunday's day-long "Compatitude" at Pioneer Park.

"We've been wanting to do an outdoor-based event and benefit," said Murray.

And Berardi added that KVMR was a perfect connection. "because we need a media outlet that reaches the people we want to attract."

The station's support of poetry and spoken word, plus "your wide variety of music" helped out the event's all ages, multimedia, local music and conscious living themes, according to the two.

When I'm 79

Leonard Cohen gets a "Diamonds and Rust" salute from KVMR's Laura Miller in honor of his 79th birthday from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday ( 89.5FM, streaming).

A weekly wrap-up of news and oddities about community radio station KVMR (89.5 FM, streaming), a noncommercial station offering diverse musical programming, independent news and provocative public affairs from about 150 volunteer "citizen-broadcasters." A video about the station's new building is at Complete program listings are available at

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