From book to radio, meet county’s ‘Sages’ |

From book to radio, meet county’s ‘Sages’

It started out as an innovative book about leadership and civic engagement.

Four years later, it’s successfully morphed into a weekly KVMR 89.5 FM radio series about, you guessed it, leadership and civic engagement.

“Originally, a group from the Center for Non-Profit leadership formed the Sages Leadership Project,” explained Keith Porter, one of the radio show co-hosts. “The purpose was to determine why this community seems to run so well.”

The result was the 2012 book, “The Sages Among Us,” which profiled 50 elder sages and 50 “emerging sage leaders,” according to Porter.

“Several of us wanted to keep the spirit and intent of the Sages project going,” Porter said. “We spoke with KVMR and away it (the radio series) went.”

The radio version of “Sages Among Us” premiered 13 months ago and still runs weekly at 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays (89.5 FM, streaming) between the station’s Evening News and the national newsmagazine “Democracy Now.”

With little to no radio experience among them, Porter, Brian Buckley and Norm Westmore found themselves the co-hosts and co-producers of the series, with the Nevada City non-commercial radio station providing engineers for the program.

In fact, Porter and Westmore came from careers in telecommunications and Buckley was a Grass Valley school principal who now is the executive director of Nevada County Arts.

“We practiced by interviewing each other to get our feet wet,” said Porter with a smile. “It helped us to refine our questions to find what it is that motivates people to do what they do for the community.”

More than 50 Sages — and emerging Sages — have been interviewed so far, including government officials, nonprofit organization leaders, educators, business leaders and activists.

One of Porter’s favorite shows had two interviewees — Paul Drake from the Nevada Theatre board and Michael Young of the KVMR board discussing the unique building collaboration the two arts organizations are doing together.

“It was great getting two points of view on how they’re working together,” he said.

Next up Wednesday is one of those emerging Sages: Caleb Dardick, executive director of the South Yuba River Citizens League.

“I like to structure an interview so that you become better acquainted with the individual,” Porter continued. “And I like to conclude by asking what’s special about the community.”

One interview Porter is looking forward to doing is Aug. 27 with The Union publisher Jim Hemig.

“A lot of the people we interview have lived around here a long time,” noted Porter. “He (Hemig) has lived in a variety of places and jobs and it’ll be fun to have him compare us to other communities.”


KVMR’s annual music sale takes place Aug. 23rd at the Nevada City Veterans Hall, 415 North Pine Street, near downtown.

Doors for the event open at 9 a.m., and it goes to 3 p.m. The building has an adjacent free parking lot. Thousands of CDs, LPs and books will be available, with proceeds benefiting the nonprofit, non-commercial Nevada City radio station. Information about making donations to the sale is available via e-mail <>

A weekly wrap-up of news and oddities about community radio station KVMR (89.5 FM, streaming), a noncommercial station offering diverse musical programming, independent news and provocative public affairs from about 180 volunteer “citizen-broadcasters.” A video and other information about the station’s new building is available at <> Complete program listings are available at

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