KVMR’s goal: ‘The live remote capitol of community radio’ | TheUnion.com

KVMR’s goal: ‘The live remote capitol of community radio’

Steve Baker
Special to Prospector
KVMR 89.5 FM's Broadcaster Training Class of 2019 includes new General Manager Ali Lightfoot (first row, fourth from right).
Submitted photo

It just may have been the first time Ali Lightfoot got a chance to relax and reflect on her first two whirlwind weeks as KVMR’s new general manager.

With the Father’s Day Weekend Bluegrass Festival on a radio in the background, Ali sat down and just sort of riffed off that.

“We are the live remote capital of the community radio world,” she said with a broad smile.

“You know, it takes a lot of people to make that happen. They’re working around the clock to make sure the sound is great and the signal is strong.”

“It’s truly a real picture of how much live music is valued here,” Lightfoot added. “We’re into it.”

Did you note her use of the word “we”?


You see, these weren’t her first 10 days at KVMR, by any means. She even made a special trip to be here for the station’s holiday party last December, where she saw the full array of the station’s volunteers. She was impressed.

As for recently, according to Lightfoot, “I’ve been here on and off through April and May, working with our interim general manager Jeff Pope, I’ve participated in the spring pledge drive, watched us live at the Strawberry Festival, went to the DJ Redlocks’ listener event …”

And also took KVMR’s 2019 broadcaster training course, after having trained volunteer after volunteer at her previous home station, KVNF in tiny Paonia in western Colorado, where she was program director for nearly the past decade.

Yes, she wants to earn her place on air at KVMR.

“I just came here from a really small town (population 500),” she admitted. “At first, I thought I’d moved to a booming metropolis, with like two or three choices of something to do every single night, which there is, but Nevada City really is still a small town.

“I mean it can be quiet here at certain times of the day,” she said. “I like the quiet you can still find here.”


One thing she’s taken on full bore ahead is emergency fire and weather coverage. You see, Ali is a veteran news and public affairs program producer, too.

“I just went to the evacuation drill this month and did my first (KVMR) news report on it,” she noted. “It’s very clear there is major fire danger here; it’s not if it will happen but when.”

That’ll include a meeting for KVMR volunteer broadcasters who want to help out in emergency coverage situations with representatives from the Nevada County Office of Emergency Services and longtime KVMR partner Yubanet.com.

“If our signal goes down, if the power goes down and if our internet goes down, we want to have a back-up for everything, including our incredible engineer Buzz Barnett if somehow he can’t get here,” according to Lightfoot.


“I love our volunteers,” she said without a second thought. “They have this station in their hearts. They are very special, very dedicated people.

“They just want to be here, doing whatever they can to help us.” according to Lightfoot. “You simply don’t see this at every station.”

Just about this time, Ali’s face lit up. She recognized the bluegrass group on the air, friends of hers, a band called FY5, from, duh, Colorado.

“I know them. I’ve got to go say ‘hi’”.

That doesn’t happen everywhere either. It can be quiet around here.

KVMR is a volunteer-driven eclectic music and progressive public affairs radio station at 89.5 FM, with National Public Radio news shows serving western Nevada County “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered” at The Bridge 105.7 FM, plus Pacifica Radio’s “Democracy Now’ airing at 105.7 FM 9 a.m. weekdays. You can become a KVMR or The Bridge member by calling 530-264-4165.

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