KVMR’s ‘Cannabis Radio News’ celebrates 1st year on national airwaves
Just over a year ago, former KVMR 89.5 FM news director Brian Bahouth had this idea for a weekly news program about … marijuana.
He figured with all the interest in legalization in Colorado and Washington and more states likely to follow, it just might make for some compelling content.
“And it has remained an important, emerging story,” beams Bahouth. “It’s one that involves privacy rights, law enforcement issues and prison reform.”
More than 30 public and community radio stations carry the weekly five-minute “Cannabis Radio News,” each of which has between five and seven stories, according to Bahouth.
It’s heard on KVMR at 8:30 a.m. Mondays during the Morning Show and as part of KVMR’s half-hour evening news at 6 p.m. Tuesdays (89.5 FM, kvmr.org streaming).
KVMR gave Bahouth some initial financial support from the station’s national radio program fund, which uses some of its Corporation for Public Broadcasting restricted grant to produce national programming. That’s noted in the credits at the end of each show.
“I’m proud to be associated and affiliated with KVMR,” Bahouth says. “This is community radio in action, not ‘stoner’ radio, this is legitimate news.”
Now based in Reno, Bahouth has traveled to Oregon, where pot became legal last month, various California locales and, of course, Colorado, the epicenter of the movement with its historic pro-cannabis vote in 2012, to gather reports.
That’s actually where Bahouth’s news career began as a volunteer at a community station in Boulder, Colorado, and includes stops as a news director in rural Colorado, at KUNR, Reno (the University of Nevada’s public radio station) and two years’ work at KVMR.
Meanwhile, the year-old news program’s number of twitter followers has soared to over 10,000, plus a redesign of the program’s marijuanapublicmedia.org website “lurched forward” the number of tablet and i-phone/smartphone users, he added.
And enough news coverage is being generated by the show that the producer/host is considering adding a second weekly edition in the near future.
In fact, the show is attracting listeners in places not associated with progressive movements, such as Missouri, Tennessee and even Mississippi, according to Bahouth.
“The state Ku Klux Klan and other highly conservative groups are threatening” a woman leading the Mississippi legalization efforts, he noted. “We are making a difference, energizing people through the media.”
“We can help people,” Bahouth said sincerely. “That’s why I became a reporter.”
To KVMR News Director Paul Emery, Cannabis Radio News is a good fit for the station’s listeners.
“This really is strong news reporting because of Brian’s wide range of contacts all over the country and his timely interviews,” Emery explained.
Besides, after fifty-some programs, there’s that sense of satisfaction that you get from talking to Bahouth about the series.
“I love it,” he gushes. “I’m thrilled.”
KVMR kicks off over 40 hours of live remote broadcasting from the Nevada County Fair as the annual event holds its opening day next Wednesday.
Various 4-H members, musicians, non-profit organization executives, Treat Street representatives, political party organizers, artists, fair winners and even some livestock and animals are among those expected to be interviewed during the station’s 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily coverage (89.5 FM, kvmr.org streaming).
On The Air is a weekly feature of The Prospector and KVMR, featuring the oddities and personality of the non-commercial Nevada City radio station at 89.5 FM and streaming at kvmr.org.)
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