She’s ‘The Cleaning Fairy’ consciousness in new building
As KVMR 89.5 FM completely exits its old Nevada City headquarters this week, nobody could be quite as happy as the broadcaster becoming known as “The Cleaning Fairy.”
“The difference is I’m starting with a clean slate,” beamed Leia Farrell, in comparing her cleaning job at the radio station’s new building across the street from its former home.
“It’s so much easier to see what’s dirty because everything is new and clean,” she explained. “The challenge is you can’t let things slide.”
The eclectic, non-commercial station — and Farrell — are stressing to its hundreds of volunteers the cultural importance of keeping the new facility in excellent condition.
Signs from “The Cleaning Fairy” abound in the new building, with messages like “Please be kind, don’t leave a mess behind” and “Keep KVMR clean.”
That certainly wasn’t the case during the community station’s 21 years in the old facility.
“Oh, the carpet there was legendary,” Leia says with another smile. “Well, who would have even noticed if it was vacuumed or not? You honestly couldn’t tell.”
According to Farrell, it had simply seen far too many “membership drives, food spills and pets all over the carpet.”
“We were thinking of offering up one foot squares of the rug as a fundraiser,” quipped Program Director Steve Baker, “but I suspect the health department would have stopped it.”
Farrell fell into the cleaning job when she worked with the station’s janitor at a music festival and got free admission. She continued helping him and took over his job when he left.
That wasn’t too long after Leia moved here from Arizona “not knowing anybody” and discovered KVMR — and its music and sense of community — her very first night in town.
“The station was having a membership drive, they needed phone volunteers, and that was my beginning at the station,” according to Farrell, who also became a volunteer broadcaster a year later.
By day, Leia runs Twin Soles Massage, where she offers ashiatsu massage with her feet, something she’s performed since 2000, although her roots in the practice go much further back.
“I’ve been doing it since I was a little kid,” she recalled. “I’d walk on my dad’s back.”
And now, by night, at least every other sultry Friday night, she is Fey, the hostess of “Bohemian Groove” (10 p.m. — midnight, 89.5 FM, kvmr.org streaming).
“Genre-wise, it’s eclectic, I play what I feel like hearing, and people dig it,” Farrell noted.
To fellow broadcaster and KVMR Lifetime Achievement award winner Dawn Fischer, “Fey plays the right kind of groovy trippy music perfect for late Friday nights.”
“Fey just puts you in the mood,” added Baker.
Leia also has been a contributing reader and actor on Sunday night’s “A Word in Edgewise” (9-10 p.m., 89.5 FM, kvmr.org streaming), which she notes is “storytime for grown-ups.”
So whether she’s Leia, Fey or The Cleaning Fairy, Farrell is one noticeable presence at the volunteer-driven radio station.
“I feel privileged to be a big part of it,” she added, with still another smile.
Blues artists Paul Thorn and Ruthie Foster are this week’s musical guests in eTown Sunday night at 7 p.m. on KVMR.
A weekly wrap-up of news and oddities about community radio station KVMR (89.5 FM, kvmr.org streaming), a noncommercial station offering diverse musical programming, independent news and provocative public affairs from about 180 volunteer “citizen-broadcasters.” Information about the station’s new building is available at bridgestreetproject.org Complete program listings are available at kvmr.org
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