KVMR: A world where everything doesn’t move too fast | TheUnion.com

KVMR: A world where everything doesn’t move too fast

Steve Baker
Special to Prospector
Here's KVMR County Fair Live Broadcast Producer "Mystic" Al Camillo in his rookie year. Next week will be Camillo's fifth time as the community radio station's fair broadcast producer.
Submitted photo by Deborah Camillo

Know & Hear

WHAT: KVMR 89.5 FM Live Broadcast from the Nevada County Fair (105.1 FM Truckee, kvmr.org streaming).

WHEN: Wednesday through Sunday, Aug. 7-11, 10 a.m. each day to 6:30 p.m. Wed-Fri; 6 p.m. Sat; and 3 p.m. Sunday. A classic Loafer’s Glory from the Fair with U. Utah Phillips will broadcast Sunday, Aug. 4 at 7 p.m.

WHERE: KVMR Broadcast Booth, with haybale seating, End of Treat Street across from pony rides and 4-H food and drink concessions, Nevada County Fairgrounds, Grass Valley.

INFO: kvmr.org or 530-265-9073

It’s become one of those stories that just gives you pause to smile.

You see, to the late, legendary folksinger/storyteller U. Utah Phillips, the Nevada County Fair was an annual ritual.

“Everything in the world moves a little too quickly,” he theorized in a KVMR 89.5 FM broadcast from the Nevada County Fairgrounds maybe 20 years ago. “But you walk into the gate to this fair and everything is where it was last year, the year before and the year before that.”

Then Phillips added this observation, with that special twinkle in his eye.

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“It’s as though they freeze dry the kids and the animals, then put water on them to reconstitute them for this year’s fair.

“And, as living proof of that, that’s exactly what I said about it last year.”

A special repeat of one of Phillips’ classic “Loafer’s Glory” radio programs recorded live at the fair will air this Sunday at 7 p.m. to kick off KVMR’s Fair extravaganza (89.5 FM, Truckee 105.1 FM, kvmr.org streaming).


You see, Phillips always saw the fair as one part of community that stays constant year after year.

And since 1995. KVMR 89.5 FM, Nevada City’s nonprofit eclectic radio station, has been a constant in bringing listeners a true feel, sound and ambiance of the fair.

All five days of the fair, Wednesday through Sunday, Aug. 11 will feature KVMR programs live from the fairgrounds beginning at 10 a.m. each day and going to 6:30 p.m. weekdays, 6 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. on Sunday.

There’ll be a bevy of nonprofit leaders, 4-H Club members, Treat Street cooks, environmental and political activists, ribbon winners, plus the occasional horse, pig, chicken, goat or goose, just waiting among those to be interviewed and featured on the community radio station.

“I’m looking forward to this fair since we’ll have a great presentation of music, talk, information and entertainment lined up on the air,” beamed “Mystic Al” Camillo, a KVMR volunteer broadcaster who has produced the five-day remote broadcast since 2015.

“Sometimes, though, I don’t know quite how to interview livestock,” explained Friday Music Magazine (4 p.m. to 6 p.m.) Hap Hazard. “So I think I’ll just play lots of Rolling Stones.”

So don’t be surprised — well, OK, be surprised — if Mick Jagger and Keith Richards show up. Their music is part of the fair’s KVMR radio sound. They’ll make it here some year, we’re sure.


Nothing may top his first year, when Camillo and his wife learned their bid for a Grass Valley home had been accepted while they were on site producing the fair broadcast for the very first time. Duh, they’ve lived here ever since. And have loved doing the fair broadcast.

Still …

“There are always surprises from animal interviews to musical guests,” noted Camillo. “And you can’t forget Treat Street as we’re always doing, um, taste treats on the radio.”

Nobody comes close to KVMR’s near-40 hours of remote live broadcast from the fair in a busy broadcast tent you’ll find near the end of Treat Street by the Nevada City Methodist Church bratwurst booth, and across from both the 4-H food stand and the pony rides. Giddyap!

“If you see the hay bales, you’re there,” quipped Camillo.

And that makes the KVMR booth a place where you can sit and enjoy live radio as it happens in front of you.

“We always have so much fun and we love meeting everyone there,” said Camillo. “It’s just great radio for five days at the fair.”

For instance, a couple years ago, a duck put up quite a fuss during a Music Magazine interview segment. And smiles abounded.


There will likely be a few more abundant smiles next Wednesday when Klara Voyant holds forth with “Soul Poppy Jazz” at 2 p.m. and Jenny Michael and Connie Coale present the “Wednesday Music Magazine” at 4 p.m.

Plus Paul Emery, Charlotte Peterson and Felton Pruitt do live news and interviews on 6 p.m.’s “KVMR Evening News” broadcasting live from the fair Wednesday through Friday.

Thursday also features “Resilience Radio” and indigenous culture with Miss Jiff at 10 a.m., Martin Webb’s popular “Energy Report” at noon, and KVMR engineer Buzz Barnett’s “Twisted Roots” music show at 2 p.m.

Friday includes folk and roots music on Dennis Brunnenmeyer’s “Nevada City Limits” at 10 a.m., the cannabis policy show “Higher Elevation” at noon and “Organic Matters” with Amigo Bob at 1 p.m.

Saturday’s likely to feature some live roots music when Eric Rice and “County Line Bluegrass” go on at 10 a.m., and Kim Rogers’ new version of “Good Stuff” hits the air at 2 p.m. John Rumsey subs for fair food judge Brian Lee (too busy eating) on “Color Radio” Saturday at 4 p.m.

Then there’s “Kanikapila,” with Michael Keene and his long tradition of traditional Hawaiian music at 10 a.m. Sunday, and a chance to see those Hawaiian shirts glow in the sunshine. Plus the station’s “Blues Spectrum” hits the air at 1 p.m. before heading back to the studios in Nevada City.

“This is my fifth year producing the fair broadcast and meeting our members and all the people who are finding us for the first time,” Camillo said. “It’s my treat doing the live broadcast, just as it’s the people who make the fair great for our station and deejays.”

On The Air is a weekly irreverent look at Nevada City’s eclectic community radio station at 89.5 FM and streaming at kvmr.org. Complete KVMR schedule available at the station’s website, http://www.kvmr.org. You’ll also find the schedule for the new second signal, The Bridge 105.7 FM, featuring NPR, Pacifica and independent public radio news and public affairs programs by day, and KVMRx.org, an indie millennial music service, by night.

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