On The Air: Instant friends, mentors & music inspire this KVMR co-volunteer director | TheUnion.com

On The Air: Instant friends, mentors & music inspire this KVMR co-volunteer director

Shauna McKenna has now been KVMR 89.5 FM's co-volunteer coordinator for over a year.
Photo by Connie Coale

Sure, KVMR 89.5 FM is a volunteer-driven radio station, but there’s so many volunteers, you need someone to coordinate them all.

Or maybe two someones, especially since Edy Cassell, KVMR’s volunteer director since early this century, is now working half-time at KVMR and half-time for Sierra Harvest, another organization near and dear to her heart.

Just about 14 months ago, enter Shauna McKenna as a co-volunteer director with Edy, and it was a dream job come true.

“When we first moved here about four years ago, David (Rhodes, her husband and, yup, now a KVMR volunteer broadcaster himself), well, he and I were thinking we’d be semi-retired,” Shauna said. “And we knew no one.

“So I found myself wanting community, meeting friends, things like that.”

She had her eyes on KVMR but was working elsewhere until…

After a co-volunteer director stepped down, Shauna recalls Edy was impressed with her resume and thought she’d be a good fit.


“When I got to KVMR, it was instant friends everywhere,” Shauna said with a grin. “Music is love and the spice of life and to have music all around you, it’s great.”

Not only that, but Shauna found “instant mentors here (at KVMR) helping me become a better volunteer coordinator.”

There are over 200 volunteer broadcasters, plus a couple hundred non-broadcasters who are receptionists, assist with mailings, serve on remote broadcast crews and perform dozens of other jobs or projects at the Nevada City non-profit station.

“Seriously, KVMR volunteers are a special breed of folks helping us keep the station looking nice, or to represent us at local events or help to movie a piano,” Shauna pointed out. “KVMR is a non-profit where volunteers come to us desiring to be more a part of the community and look forward to being engaged in a fun and loving atmosphere, where we are doing great things to entertain and inform our county and beyond.

“We are a community gathering place where everyone comes to hear the news of the day or lend support to their mates in need or to chat about a song or new musician they just heard on the radio,” she added.


Born in Utah, raised in Los Gatos and a San Jose State graduate, Shauna found herself working 27 years for a Fortune 500 company doing project management and business development at Oracle Computers. Said she, “It was time to slow down and get out of the rat race.”

Still, it was tough to leave the Bay Area, where they lived less than a mile from the Pacific Ocean.

“You could feel and hear the ocean every day,” Shauna remembered, “but leaving that, we found the Yuba River up here.”

Not surprisingly, they’re both volunteering as river monitors for South Yuba River Citizens League.


So they chose Nevada County and Banner Mountain to settle down.

“I’ve always loved the water,” said Shauna with a big smile. “I like scuba diving, and I even lived on a sailboat in San Francisco for awhile.”

But then there’s music: another reason they’re here.

“Music is such a big part of our lives,” Shauna said. “Seeing or playing music comes with every weekend.”

“We saw that Nevada County has such a vibrant music scene here, and we don’t have to drive an hour to get to it (like in the Bay Area).”

Now she also loves leading KVMR’s volunteers to do their very best to help out the 40-year-old station … with lots of music around.

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. The station now offers national and regional public radio programming by day at The Bridge 105.7 FM, including Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Complete schedules available at the station’s website, http://www.kvmr.org. The station now features an easy-to-use archive of all shows at archive.kvmr.org.

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