Love of music on the air
About 40 volunteers and lots of coordination among DJs, artists, commentators and equipment helped local community radio station KVMR broadcast more than 40 hours of the California WorldFest over the weekend.
“Most of the volunteers (at the music festival) have been doing these shifts for years,” said Wesley Robertson, volunteer executive producer of KVMR’s live remote broadcast of the four days of WorldFest. “As we’ve been doing this for 11 years, we’ve been improving the sound. So the quality of music on the air is very impressive.”
Coordinators get practice throughout the year, with live remote broadcasts from the Nevada County Fairgrounds during the county fair, the Bluegrass Festival and the Celtic Festival, said Steve Baker, program director with the nonprofit station based in Nevada City.
“We do more live remote broadcasting than any other station in northern California,” Baker said.
Volunteers set up the KVMR booth next to the main stage the day before the festival started. They wired the booth to the various stages at the event so they could receive live audio and video footage, Robertson said.
“We need to communicate between the sound engineers at the different stages we access,” Robertson said. “During the daytime, we are plugged to two different stages. We also set up our own video camera with these stages so the disc jockeys know when to go to which particular stage.”
During the last three days of the music festival, the KVMR booth had announcers working three shifts a day, with two announcers per shift, Robertson said. On the first day, two disc jockeys did one shift only, he added.
The announcers typically have a passion for the music played during their shifts, Robertson said.
That love of music streamed live on the Web all over the world. “We got an e-mail from someone from Argentina saying we had made his year by broadcasting Ani DiFranco,” Baker said.
Underwriters cover costs
Despite the extensive broadcasting KVMR does from the music festival, the costs are minimal, Robertson said.
“Amazingly, we don’t pay any fee to set up our booth out there. We have an arrangement with the festival,” he said. “We don’t pay a fee to broadcast the music, as the artists all sign off to give us permission. We own the equipment. The sound
engineers and volunteers just put in their own time.”
“We do cultivate underwriters who will underwrite a particular event,” Baker said.
The three underwriters for WorldFest this year were Auburn Honda, area Big O Tires stores and Plan It Solar of Penn Valley, Baker said.
The effort that goes into the live broadcasts reflects the special role of the WorldFest for the station.
“The diversity of music you hear at this festival reflects the diversity of the music KVMR usually broadcasts, more than any other live broadcasts we do,” Baker said.
To contact Soumitro Sen, e-mail soumitros@the union.com or call 477-4229.
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