Joyce Miller: Child of the media makes mark on KVMR |

Joyce Miller: Child of the media makes mark on KVMR

KVMR radio broadcaster Joyce Miller will host two programs this holiday weekend before returning to her regular early morning gig, "Bedhead Radio,' from 4 to 7 a.m. Sept. 8.
Submitted photo |

KVMR 89.5 FM volunteer broadcaster Joyce Miller grew up a child of the media, and she’s never really completely let go.

This holiday weekend, she’ll keep busy substitute hosting not one, but two programs: the folk/roots “Nevada City Limits” program Friday 10 a.m. to noon and the station’s eclectic/variety Monday Morning Show on Labor Day itself (7-10 a.m., 89.5 FM, streaming).

And she’ll be back this month with her regular gigs: on her early morning eclectic variety music show “Bedhead Radio” from, gulp, 4 to 7 a.m. Sept. 8, and as a host/ interviewer on “The Sages Among Us” at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28.

Now that’s a radio career that definitely requires a calendar.

Oh, but those formative early years in Southern California.

“I was a child who made a little newspaper, copied it and distributed it,” recalls Miller. “I was obsessed with newspapers.”

And she’d listen to Los Angeles radio station KFWB on transistor radio under the covers at night.

All that led to a 20-year career in newspapers, including the final nine as an editor with The Los Angeles Times.

Along the way, Joyce started visiting Nevada County, where her brother, Larry Miller, had moved in 1978.

No surprise, given her love for radio, but…

“Whenever I’d visit, I’d listen to KVMR,” says Miller. “I’d even call in for free tickets to something, pretending I lived here.”

And it was among the reasons, Joyce jokes, she spent “my entire adult life trying to get out of Southern California.”

Finally, she decided on a career change and went to Sacramento State, got a master’s degree and became a licensed clinical social worker.

“I wanted to be involved in people’s lives,” she says, “I was tired of just being an observer (as a reporter or editor).”

And, along the way, she met her future husband Dan Skeahan in San Francisco. A Nevada City native, he had been living in Alaska for 20 years. Yup, they moved back here in 1999.

She remembers a big blizzard here while Dan was away and how then-General Manager Brian Terhorst and other KVMR broadcasters were letting listeners call in and talk about the storm.

“I really felt like I was part of a community,” she says.

And her appreciation for KVMR grew, although she didn’t take a step into broadcasting until the 2011 training class, being urged on by KVMR volunteer broadcasters Martha Kuhns and Laura Miller.


“I love our listeners, they’re the best in the world. You make a mistake, they’ll call and help you out. They’re knowledgeable, loyal and supportive,” says Joyce, adding “I love how freeform and eclectic it is.”

Miller once was stunned by radio on a trip to England where she found a station “playing whatever they wanted. Radio shouldn’t be so predictable with a playlist.”

Another childhood story:

“I had the measles, and my mother put a radio right next to my bed. I bet I heard ‘The Battle of New Orleans’ 400 times since it was at the top of the charts. I thought, ‘Aren’t there any other songs out there?’”

Don’t worry about Joyce getting bored doing radio. She’s also a contra dance caller for a local group.

And she’s ventured into theater, too, like last year in Sierra Stages’ “The Producers,” where she played a tap-dancing Nazi, a nun, a lascivious old lady and a tank.

That’ll keep you busy.

So will her job at the non-profit Sierra Families Forever, finding homes for children in foster care.

And then there’s this weekend. Does Johnny Horton’s New Orleans song get a spin?

“Actually, I’m kind of nostalgic about it now. One time, maybe.”

We’ll see, er, hear.


KVMR’s annual Music and Book Sale takes place Saturday, Sept. 10, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at a new location: The Odd Fellows Hall, 212 Spring St., downtown Nevada City.

(On The Air is a weekly irreverent look at Nevada City’s volunteer-driven, eclectic community radio station at 89.5 FM and streaming at Complete KVMR schedule available at the station’s website, The station now features an easy-to-use archive of all music shows for two weeks and talk shows for two months at Now you can listen to what you want when you want.

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