KXCR, Florence’s nonprofit community radio station, is in the process of expanding the opportunities for area residents to participate in the programming and technical production at the station. The station is approaching its fourth anniversary and is reaching out to the community to help keep the station on the air and connected to the listeners it serves.
Maggie Bagon has been involved at KXCR since its inception. She is currently a board member and host of a weekly Bluegrass show, “Montana Maggie.”
Bagon is hopeful that recent additions to the board, and a more people-friendly attitude at the station, will translate into wider participation by local residents in the station’s day to day operations.
“I am really excited that we have a new, more diverse board,” Bagon said.
KXCR’s board of directors now has five women and five men.
“I think having a more inclusive board is a good thing. We’ve added new board members that are vibrant and have the time, the energy and the interest in growing community radio,” Bagon said.
The senior staffing at KXCR has also recently changed, and Jonathan Yoder is now the acting station manager. He has been involved at the radio station for the past few years in a number of capacities.
“Being a community radio station really does mean we want everyone in the community to be involved, if they are interested,” Bagon said. “We respect everyone and want to invite everyone, regardless of their political position or affiliation, to join us and share their views with our listeners.”
While Yoder and Bagon are hopeful about community interest, they are concerned that basic costs for operations of the station will not be forthcoming in a timely manner, and KXCR may not be able to pay its bills.
“People think we are an NPR station and we are not,” Yoder said. “We get some programs from them, if they are free, but we are a Florence-based community radio station, so we are totally dependent on the community for our funding.
“We are working on getting some grants but we need help right away with the overhead, keeping the lights on, so to speak.”
Yoder and Bagon want to make sure listeners in the Florence area are aware of the differences, which are significant, between commercial radio and community radio.
“We play all types of music, everything from blues to classical and jazz to rock and roll. In addition, we have many shows that are informational in nature,” Bagon said. “We have shows that discuss politics, health and nutrition, and science and nature. These are shows that you will not hear anywhere else in this listening area.”
Bagon suggested that one of the best ways that interested individuals can begin participating in local radio is by contributing to a show designed to highlight specific issues.
“We have a program called ‘Grab Bag.’ Anyone can come in and do a show about a specific subject that we might run once or twice,” she said.
If people want to do a regular program, they need only to prepare three shows.
“We will figure out where it fits in with our current programming and put it on the air,” Bagon said.
The new management team at KXCR is also hoping to increase the number of community volunteers participating in program production and with the many technical elements involved in station operation.
“One of our pressing needs right now is to have some people that have a technical background who would be interested in helping our station manager getting the shows ready to be broadcast,” Bagon said. “It is a little work to put a show together, but is work that I’ve found very satisfying.”
Those interested should come by KXCR, 1509 Ninth St., and talk with Yoder about training.
“Someone can also help prepare you for producing your own show or helping with other shows,” Bagon said.
KXCR’s new leadership also wants to include additional programming that deals with the area in and around Florence.
“One of the other projects we are looking at developing is a local news show. We really want to cover the city council meetings and other local events that our listeners are interested in hearing about. These include weather and tide reports and fishing information, which are all a big thing here,” Bagon said.
Yoder echoed Bagon’s thoughts.
“Most importantly, we want to hear from our listeners, that’s first and foremost,” he said. “We want them to tell us what they would like to hear. We want to provide the programming that people want to listen to — we just need to hear from the community.”
Bagon concluded, “What we really would love is help in any area that people would like to contribute — whether it is financial, technical or working at the front desk answering the phones and greeting people that may stop in.”
To find out more about volunteering or contributing to KXCR, visit kxcr.net, call 541-997-5252 or stop in to the station, located across the street from the Siuslaw Public Library.