On the Air: Hall of fame volunteer leaves KVMR after 30 year ‘adventure’ | TheUnion.com

On the Air: Hall of fame volunteer leaves KVMR after 30 year ‘adventure’

Steve Baker
Special to Prospector
Susan McGuire is leaving KVMR 89.5 FM after a 30-year run as a volunteer there.

“This adventure began in 1990 when KVMR was still in ‘The Pit,’” recalled Susan McGuire, referring to the nickname given the Nevada City community radio station’s former office in the Miners Foundry, back in its early days.

Shortly after moving here from Massachusetts, she was working at the John Woolman School outside of town as kitchen manager (and later as office manager) and decided to volunteer for a nonprofit. “I felt isolated and I needed a reason to come into town to form some relationships outside of school.”

There were a couple organizations she visited but felt there were “too many egos.”

Then she found KVMR 89.5 FM, where she’s spent 30, yup, 30 years as a loyal volunteer and was named to the radio station’s Volunteer Hall Of Fame in 2018, many of the years working in the membership department.

“Susan has done behind the scenes work for membership that is thankless and unglamorous,” said Membership Coordinator Adriana Kelly. “From creating CDs and packaging thank you gifts to preparing mailings and dreaded data entry, she’s done it week in and week out for three decades.”

Next month Susan and her husband Russ Hamilton, a friend she’s known since 1974 and married in 2016, will move to Alamogordo, New Mexico, where her sister lives “and it’s far less expensive to live there.”

No doubt, she’ll miss KVMR.


“It’s my friends, the people here are my friends,” Susan explained. “And the arts community here, I’m going to miss that. We have loved it here.”

“If you get stuck somewhere, this is a good place to get stuck,” she smiled.

She’s volunteered for nearly all membership drives, and she remembers being “just astonished at how much money we started to make after 9/11.”

“I remember us getting over $100,000 sometimes then… when we couldn’t even get $20,000 in earlier drives.”

She worked Celtic Festivals. She did the box office at events. She did a good stretch as a front desk receptionist. She was even the interim membership coordinator one summer.

Before Susan moved here over 30 years ago, “I never had the same address for more than two years.”

She’d decided to not spend winters in Massachusetts anymore and got a summer job in California’s Carmel Valley. Susan was looking for a cooking job at a school and found out that Woolman School here had invited her to apply for their open position, she got it, and worked there until she retired in 2009.

Meanwhile, Susan had been sending Russ a birthday card and Christmas card every year, they reconnected when she and a friend drove across the country to get her record collection that Russ still had.

At some point, they really reconnected when Russ ended up moving here a few years before they wed.


When the two of them stopped by KVMR for a final visit, that’s when Susan looked amazed when she found out she was in the KVMR Volunteer Hall of Fame.

“I hadn’t realized that,” she said. “This is the first I knew about it.”

But there was her name on a plaque.

“We want her to know how much we love her,” said Volunteer Co-Manager Edy Cassell.

“She’s a calming person, funny, smart, a creative thinker,” explained Kelly. “I can’t say enough great things about her, and I will surely miss her.”

“Even though they’ll be missed, we wish them so much joy in their new home and town.”

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 kvmr.org. Complete KVMR schedule available at the station’s website, http://www.kvmr.org. The station now features a second stream with indie pop and millenial tastes at kvmrx.org and a second local signal at 105.7 FM with National Public Radio’s Morning Edition and Pacifica’s Democracy Now weekday mornings 5 a.m. to 10 a.m.

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