How a volunteer receptionist has become a KVMR ‘Ambassador’ |

How a volunteer receptionist has become a KVMR ‘Ambassador’

OK, one thing you can say about KVMR 89.5 FM volunteer receptionist Karen Quackenbush is that she’s a true ambassador for the Nevada City community radio station.

Just get her talking about KVMR, and you’ll see.

“I love the variety of music, it fills my soul, and this (the front office) is a really fun place to get a chance to meet local people,” Karen says.

“And I’m able to find out what’s going on in town, which is why I like putting up posters by our main entrance,” she adds with a smile. “I read the posters as I put them up, and you learn a lot.”

“I love how the pulse, the reflection, the culture of the community is always such a surprise and how well it’s represented on the radio.”— Karen QuackenbushKVMR volunteer receptionist

Being a KVMR receptionist is something she’s been doing for the last four years; her current assignment is Wednesday afternoons. But Karen’s roots of involvement at KVMR go all the way back to the early ‘80s in the Miners Foundry when her brother was a volunteer KVMR broadcaster and she was a volunteer receptionist.

And, maybe no surprise, but she worked from 1980 to 2011 at Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital as a receptionist, although also as a scheduler and doing medical records, among other assignments. “They encouraged you to move around (in job responsibilities).”

And listening to KVMR?


“Both the talk show hosts and the music deejays are so interesting and truly dedicated to what they do so well,” according to Karen.

“And I love that it’s the emergency broadcast station because KVMR’s so much of a companion during disasters,” she says. “Those guys really know what’s happening.”

Karen also likes KVMR’s new sister station at 105.7 FM.

“It’s sort of a combination of NPR (National Public Radio) programming with KVMR. It really adds something to the mix to have the two stations available to us listeners.”

And she’s got another KVMR fan at home.

“Yes, my dog listens whenever I’m away,” grins Karen. “She doesn’t tell me, but I know she loves it because she’s so happy whenever I get home.”

Karen grew up in Ohio and moved in the late ‘60s to Berkeley, where she worked at a hospital before moving here.

No surprise, but she also enjoys volunteering at KVMR’s booths at public events like California Worldfest.


“I love reaching out to people and interacting with them,” Karen admits. “It’s fun to talk about KVMR with people who are already listeners but it’s also valuable to tell folks unfamiliar with the station what it (KVMR) is like.”

At that point, Karen was putting wrapping paper around emergency crank radios the station offered to listeners as a thank you gift for contributions to the KVMR’s fall membership drive.

A listener walked in and asked if her radio was ready. Karen found it in a box she’s previously finished, but engaged in some talk about the station with the woman who flashed a couple of thumbs up at one of the broadcasters involved with emergency coverage.

“I love it here,” Karen later says. “There’s always something going on…”

“I love how the pulse, the reflection, the culture of the community is always such a surprise and how well it’s represented on the radio.”

Now that’s a volunteer receptionist who is at home being a KVMR receptionist. And ambassador.

On The Air is a weekly irreverent look at the nearly 200 broadcasters and hundreds of other volunteers at Nevada City’s eclectic community radio station at 89.5 FM, 105. 1 FM Truckee, and streaming at Sister station 105.7 FM features NPR and Pacifica news and analysis by day, with indie pop by night and on weekend afternoons. The station is currently seeking funds to help pay for a new transmitter and generator to better keep the station on air during mandated blackouts and emergencies. Donations are welcome at or 530/264-4165 or can be mailed to KVMR, 120 Bridge St., Nevada City CA 95959.

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