Walking the Golden Road | TheUnion.com

Walking the Golden Road

Gary Parks
Special to The Union

The bold statement heading the website declares a lofty goal: "Bridging the past with today for a better tomorrow." In Nevada City, it's happening right now.

With a mission to "explore the intersection of arts and culture, health, environment, peace and justice, and science and technology," the Golden Road Radio Hour seeks to build a better future through education, empowerment, community building and positive social change.

At its core, the weekly Golden Road Radio Hour is a fast-paced, two-hour show highlighting useful and inspiring ideas, presented by a variety of individuals who are actively sharing their gifts with the community. There could be a valuable holistic health tip, followed by a moment from Nevada County history, a report on GMO legislation or a demonstration of healing vocalization. The presentations are interspersed with musical performances, stories, interviews and humor — with different themes and concepts explored weekly. Some of the shows are performed and recorded with a live audience, adding another dimension to the presentation.

Similar to the biological process, birthing an idea and nurturing its growth takes substantial time, energy and commitment. The Golden Road Radio Hour was born over the past 18-plus months, initiated by musician, producer, educator, and Drums Around the World founder Michael DiMartino — and aided by a multi-talented team of volunteers.

Arriving in Nevada County about four years ago, DiMartino was inspired by the variety of talent, knowledge and skills represented in this modestly sized Sierra Foothills community. As he interacted with more and more people, he began looking for ways to give them a microphone to the world — a means to spread the messages of hope, joy and healing to a wider audience. Having produced major events such as a millennial world music festival in Egypt in 1999, and a five-day festival and conference at the Mayan Pyramids in Mexico in 2012, DiMartino said the format of a live show was a natural fit.

With the folksy character of Prairie Home Companion, the breadth and impact of the TED talks, and the musical variety of eTown as inspiration, the participants developed a concept that included live radio shows (including audio and video recording, web streaming, and live radio broadcast), in-studio radio shows that are also videotaped for rebroadcast — sharing the shows regionally in cooperation with other public radio and television stations.

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Members of the local community are invited to participate in developing the show. Strong links have been forged with Nevada County TV, the thriving KVMR community radio station, and the local performing arts venues in the area.

"There's a seat on the bus for everyone," DiMartino said.

The August 2016 launch of the Golden Road Radio Hour included three live radio shows held in the historic Nevada Theatre in Nevada City — California's oldest existing theater still in operation. These first shows were recorded and filmed, with the second show broadcast live on KVMR radio and the third show live-streamed to the Internet. They have been edited and are available for viewing on Golden Road's YouTube channel and the website. Featured musicians included Ma Muse, Brandon Phillips, multi-instrumentalist Paul Ong, World Beatnix, the Rayos, Art Rock Ensemble, and Gary & Eva. Juggler and storyteller Izzi Tooinsky added a dollop of humor to the second show, and the audience at the third show was treated to both Persian and Flamenco dance. A portion of the proceeds from each show went to local nonprofits, including Hospitality House, FARM, and the Friendship Club.

A team of regular content providers is in place, variously involved in the recorded and live portions of the show. Global Rhythms, Range of Light's environmental issues, Sound Advice with healing sounds, Gift of Health, the Peace and Justice Report, and Inner Path are typical features. Leslee Sesno provides "In the Field" interviews by "collecting voices from the community about social issues, with the aim to bridge the gap across generations."

DiMartino said there is still room for others to become involved. Members of the team meet weekly, with a spirit of consciousness and collaboration, as they plan the next steps. Interested content providers can go to the website http://www.goldenroadradiohour.com and send a note on the Contact page, describing their presentation. People may also attend the live stream broadcast at the Green Screen Institute every Sunday from 6 to 8 p.m. Reserved seats available at Event Brite via the Golden Road website.

Shows are available online on YouTube or at Sacramento's KUBU 96.5 radio or on KVMR as scheduled. Video broadcasts are every Sunday from 6 to 8 p.m. The videotaped shows can be seen live on NCTV Channel 17 in Nevada County (nevadacountytv.org), and Access Sacramento Channel 17, or Tahoe Truckee Channel 6 community television and Chico Public Access Channel 11.

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