It may be the only novel ever set at KVMR Radio, at least so far in the literary world.
Storyteller, writer and radio producer Joe McHugh’s “Kilowatt,” a 2007 hardback now being reprinted in paperback, uses the Nevada City community radio station as a backdrop for a story about two KVMR journalists who get inspired to investigate an energy company that claims it’s discovered a revolutionary process for generating clean, affordable electricity.
McHugh — a former Nevada City resident now living in Olympia, Wash. — is in town this weekend for a multimedia presentation based on his new book, “Slaying The Gorgon: The Rise of the Storytelling Industrial Complex,” at the North Columbia Schoolhouse Cultural Center 7:30 p.m. Friday. He’ll also do a Saturday afternoon workshop on “The Way Of The Storyteller” at 1 p.m. Saturday (see separate story).
Also, McHugh will be a guest at 9:15 a.m. Friday on The Morning Show (KVMR 89.5 FM, kvmr.org streaming), where signed copies of both “Kilowatt” and “Slaying The Gorgon” will be available as thank-you gifts for the station’s continuing on-air spring membership drive. Listeners can call 530-265-9555 to become KVMR supporters.
McHugh’s involvement with KVMR included a stint on the station’s Board of Directors and as producer/creator of a family stories series called “The Telling Takes Us Home,” which won a grant from KVMR funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. He’s also a longtime advocate of live radio theater in the old-time tradition.
And he has some family ties to KVMR as well.
His son, Patrick, was the station’s youngest member of the Program Committee while in high school in the 1990s and his daughter, Anna, did a KVMR special called “The Public Defender” for her senior year project. That program — featuring a profile of then-public defense lawyer Anne Moore — won the prestigious national Golden Reel Award for Best Local Documentary from the National Federation of Community Broadcasters in 2000.
The book “Kilowatt” itself — with some characters loosely based on KVMR personalities from the ’90s era — becomes a suspenseful page-turner as the two KVMR reporters go to Texas to track down possible corporate corruption and end up getting involved with ruthless Russian mobsters, Texas oil men and dedicated reformers.
A PRRRfect benefit
It’s a way to see some acclaimed regional theater and raise money for the new KVMR Radio Building and Nevada Theater expansion at the same time. Community Asian Theatre of the Sierra is doing a benefit performance of this year’s production, “Journey To The West,” at 8 p.m. Friday at, ta da, the Nevada Theatre itself.
The play is a fascinating adventure story based on a Chinese classic about a pilgrimage to enlightenment in search of sacred Buddhist scriptures. It incorporates drama, comedy and original music suitable for all ages. Word on the street is that this is one classy production (see Prospector review, page 20). And ticketgoers will help the building project for the Nevada Theater and KVMR be in even better financial condition.
Take me out to the …
If there’s one radio show on baseball you’ll want to hear, both fans and non-fans, it’s this Sunday night at 8 p.m. (KVMR 89.5 FM, kvmr.org streaming) when the legendary U. Utah Phillips greets the baseball season in an encore “Loafer’s Glory.”
The late Phillips, who was a regular fixture at Little League games at Pioneer Park in Nevada City each summer, gathers up his favorite baseball songs, quotes and rants and has a hoot. It was one of Utah’s favorite episodes from his national radio series.
The show will run right after this week’s eTown (7 p.m.) that features Sacramento rock band Cake and singer-songwriter Eliza Gilykerson as live musical guests.
A weekly wrap-up of news and oddities about community radio station KVMR (89.5 FM, kvmr.org streaming), a noncommercial station offering diverse musical programming, independent news and provocative public affairs from about 150 volunteer “citizen-broadcasters.” Complete program listings are available at kvmr.org.