Thursday, March 31, 2016

Trails to Success

Special visitors at KSER this week!

Jeb Bolton, a Snohomish County corrections officer who helped create the "Trails to Success" program stopped by with several young men who are involved in the program so they could learn more about community radio.

( r.) Steve Nguyen Phu; Raul Ramirez; Ana Maria McCleary; Michael Day; Jeb Bolton

Trails to Success, is a pilot program at Denney Juvenile Justice Center that gives kids a chance to gain work experience and prepare for job interviews. The program was recently profiled in the Everett Herald.

Ana Maria McCleary, a Snohomish County Juvenile Probation Counselor, arranged the visit for us and helped explain the importance of community radio and the different programs on KSER.

And while they were here, we also put them in the studio so they could record some station promos which you'll hear soon on KSER.

Steve and Michael behind the microphone!
The participants in "Trails to Success" also met with KSER News & Public Affairs Director Ed Bremer and learned about the process of producing news programs and what's involved in becoming a volunteer DJ at KSER.

This week's visit, and hopefully more in the future, is one of several educational tours we're able to present thanks in large part to a grant from the Tulalip Tribes Charitable Fund.

Plus we may have discovered the future stars of KSER!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Salulting Two Spectacular KSER Volunteers

KSER has been on the air for 25 years, and for 22 of those years, Jeff Hofman has been a mainstay of our weekend listening lineup. 

Jeff's program, Dusties, has played some of the greatest hits of all time, including great interviews with remarkable artists and incredible insight. But Jeff's 'real life' schedule has changed, so his volunteer work at KSER is coming to a close - for a while. This Saturday, March 5th, 2016 will be Jeff's final show on KSER.

The above photo shows just one of the many remarkable moments on Jeff's show.  That's Jeff in the middle with the incredible "Brothers of Soul" - (l. to r. Richard Knight; Bobby Easton; Ben Knight; J.J. Barnes).

Jeff's show - with great music and guests - even drew the attention of the Nashville Scene.  You can still read their story HERE.

Don't miss this weekend's  "Dusties", Saturday at 5 p.m.  It's going to be a very special send-off for Jeff and his show.

Starting next Saturday, March 12th, you can catch the new "Gumbo Mix" every Saturday at 5 p.m. with KSER's newest DJ, "D. Duane."

Another amazing KSER volunteer who is going to be taking a hiatus from her long-time work at KSER is Kinuko Noborikawa. 

Kinuko started the Communities of Color Coalition in 2004 and has helped host and produce Color Commentary every week on KSER.  Last week, the League of Women Voters of Snohomish County honored Kinuko with their Democracy in Action Award.

In recognizing Kinuko, the League of Woman Voters pointed out that for years she has been a tireless advocate for social justice. Thanks to the League for the award and thanks to Kinuko for her relentless work for our communities and for KSER.

Without dedidcated, hard-working volunteers like Kinuko and Jeff Hofman, KSER wouldn't exist.  We have more than 100 volunteers - from DJs to public affairs producers to board members - who have kept KSER on the air for a quarter century.

But the other important part of KSER is you.  Without the financial support of listeners, there would have never been a Color Commentary or Dusties. No Democracy Now or Thom Hartmann.  Sound Living wouldn't be on the air.  And we couldn't broadcast Rick Steves Travel every weekend.

While the volunteers sometimes move on, the one thing that never changes at KSER is the importance of your financial support. 25 years ago we held our first pledge drive:

No commercials. No federal tax money. No corporate owner.

We're for people, not for profit. So this week, we begin our 25th anniversary Spring membership campaign. You'll be able to call and make a pledge of support at 425-303-9070; or simply go to and make an online donation. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Happy Birthday. 25 Years of KSER!

After years of planning, the first sounds from KSER hit the airwaves on Saturday, February 9, 1991. So KSER is now celebrating our birthday, serving the North Puget Sound for 25 years with local news and public affairs, great music programs, free public service announcements for local non-profits and much more.

 The above photo was taken by Jim Leo and published in the Herald while original studios in Lynnwood were under construction. Nancy Keith was the first station manager of KSER.

A lot has changed at KSER over 25 years; for one thing, our studios are now in downtown Everett. We now broadcast on a second station, KXIR at 89.9.  We now have Amy Goodman on the air along with Thom Hartmann and Rick Steves.

But some things haven't changed. We're still powered by more than 100 dedicated volunteers who keep the stations on the air. We're still commercial free. We're still independent and community owned.
One of the first League of Women Voters Magazines of the Air on KSER

Norma Bruns, in the photo above, was one of our first volunteers.  25 years later she's still involved with KSER.

And we still rely on the generous support of listeners like you to keep all of our great programs on the air.

To help celebrate a quarter century of independent broadcasting, we'd like to invite you to one of several special KSER Birthday Parties.

The next two parties are Monday, February 29th, 5:45 to 7 p.m. and Tuesday, March 22nd 5:45 to 7 p.m.   You can meet some of your favorite KSER DJs and see the station, have a cupcake and help us celebrate our 25th year.  Simply send an email to to let us know you'd like to attend or call 425-303-9070 and we'll give you all the details.

Thanks for listening and supporting 25-year-old KSER!.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

2015 KSER Voice of the Community Award Celebration

This week KSER was honored to salute six individuals and organizations who make a real difference in our community at the 8th annual KSER Voice of the Community Awards Celebration.

Emcee Karen Crowley
There was a full house at this year's breakfast event, held in the Orca Ballroom at Tulalip Resort Casino.

Sylvia Anderson, CEO of the Everett Gospel Mission and co-chair of the Everett Community Streets Initiative was presented with an award for community impact by an individual. For 15 years, Anderson has headed the Everett Gospel Mission which has been providing food, shelter and other services to homeless people in Snohomish County for more than 50 years.

Sylvia Anderson
Also receiving a KSER Voice of the Community Award for community impact by an individual, was Washington State Senator John McCoy.  Senator McCoy was recognized for speaking up as a strong voice on many issues, especially for the teaching of tribal history and culture in schools statewide.

Senator John McCoy with Gloria Burton (l) Director, Catholic Housing Services and KSER Board President Nina Martinez
 An award for community impact by an organization was presented to Housing Hope, which has been serving the area since 1987. Nearly 90% of the homeless families who enter Housing Hope's program go on to obtain stable housing.  CEO Fred Safstrom accepted the award for Housing Hope.

Nina Martinez with Housing Hope CEO Fred Safstrom
The Sky Valley Arts Council was presented with an award for cultural impact by an organization. The council is working to develop an event center for the Sky Valley that would be a community place for music, dances, stage performances, education and more. Founding board member Debbie Copple accepted the award.

Debbie Copple of Sky Valley Arts Council
The award for community impact by a business was presented to Drew's List of Whidbey Island, an email-based resource that serves as a community bulletin board and classified ad system, all for free. What started as an exchange for a few friends in 2009, now has more than 6,000 subscribers. The voice behind Drew's List is longtime Whidbey Island resident Drew Kampion.

Voices of the Village in Arlington serves people with disabilities by encouraging them to join a performance ensemble that appears at community events year round. It's offered through Arlington's Village Community Services. Voices of the Village was presented with a KSER Voice of the Community Award for cultural impact by an organization. Michelle Dietz, Development Executive for Village Community Services accepted the award.

Michelle Dietz

During the breakfast everyone had the opportunity to fill out the above placards and suggest names of community voices they'd like to see get more community recognition.

We recorded more than a hundred great suggestions. If you didn't get to attend you can still forward your ideas to  And you can start thinking about which individual or organization you'd like to nominate for the 2016 Voice of the Community Award Celebration next fall.

And the morning wouldn't have been complete for Aletha Tatge until she got a selfie with KSER News & Public Affairs Director Ed Bremer!

Congratulations to each of the award recipients and thanks to those who attended and helped KSER salute these very special voices!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The New KSER Board of Directors

Three new members were elected to the KSER Foundation Board of Directors at the foundation's annual meeting Tuesday evening, August 11th at the Everett Public Library.

Ballots were sent to all current KSER members several weeks ago and our members elected three new members and voted new terms for two existing members, Marla Hamilton Lucas and Mary Jane Brell Vujovic.

One of the first items of business for the new KSER board was electing a new slate of officers.

Nina Martinez of Everett, chair of the Latino Civic Alliance, was elected as the new President of the Board of Directors.  Martinez replaces outgoing board president Brenda Mann Harrison of Snohomish, who remains on the board as Immediate Past President.

Nina Martinez, left; Brenda Mann Harrison
Everett resident Mary Jane Brell Vujovic, the Snohomish County Human Services Director was elected as Board Vice President. Sandy Thompson of Everett was elected as Board Secretary; and newly elected board member Erin Monroe of Seattle was elected as Board Treasurer.

Mary Jane Brell Vujovic, left; Sandy Thompson
The three new KSER Foundation Board members who were elected Tueday are Erin Monroe, CEO/President of Workforce Snohomish; retired Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Larry McKeeman of Everett; and Kara Matsuzawa of Bothell, an Associate Program Manager at Safeco Insurance.

l-r: Erin Monroe: Larry McKeeman; Kara Matsuzawa; Marla Hamilton Lucas
Current board member Marla Hamilton Lucas was elected to a new three year term; and current board member Mary Jane Brell Vujovic was elected to a new two year term.

Just like the 70 volunteers who provide much of the programming that you hear on KSER and KXIR, the members of the KSER Foundation Board of Directors also serve as volunteers.

And special thanks to Pam Somers, who completed her term as a KSER board member.

If you voted in the board election, thanks for your support and taking the time to help guide the direction of the KSER Foundation.  If you'd like a say in upcoming elections, all you have to do is become a member of KSER by making a contribution of $35 or more.  You can easily make a recurring monthly donation or one-time donation ONLINE.

The KSER Board of Directors

President: Nina Martinez
Vice-President: Mary Jane Brell Vujovic
Secretary: Sandy Thompson
Treasurer: Erin Monroe

Immediate Past President: Brenda Mann Harrison

Heather Bennett
Ed Gasparini
Alan Jacobson
Marla Hamilton Lucas
Larry McKeeman
Kara Matsuzawa

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Rick Steves Comes to KSER

The most well-traveled man in Snohomish County has to be Rick Steves of Edmonds.

You think you have a busy schedule? Not only has Rick Steves done more globe-trotting than most of us can ever imagine, but he has written dozens of travel guidebooks and he has visited millions of  living rooms as host of the "Rick Steves' Europe" TV series. He writes a syndicated newspaper column. He's a prolific blogger and is active on Twitter and Facebook and every week he does a radio show which you will now be able to hear on KSER.  

Starting this weekend you can hear "Travel with Rick Steves" every Sunday morning at 9 a.m. on 90.7 KSER-FM, 89.9 KXIR-FM and online at

From his bio at

Rick is outspoken on the need for Americans to fit better into our planet by broadening our perspectives through travel. He is also committed to his own neighborhood. He's an active member of the Lutheran church (and has hosted the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's national video productions). He's a board member of NORML (the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws). And Rick has provided his local YWCA with a 24-unit apartment building with which to house homeless mothers.

You can discover how travel has shaped Rick's world view and social activism here. 

Three years ago, when voters were considering Washington Initiative 502 to reform marijuana laws, Rick Steves conducted a powerful statewide barnstorming tour to advocate for reform. In less than 20 minutes you can watch his reasoning:

We're looking forward to hearing Rick Steves every Sunday morning on KSER.

KSER - KXIR Sunday Morning Lineup

6 a.m.    New Dimensions

7 a.m.    Alternative Radio

8 a.m.    Sound Living with Ed Bremer, Encore Presentation

9 a.m.   Travel with Rick Steves

10 a.m.  Beale Street Caravan

11 a.m.  Bluegrass Express

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Why You Should LOVE Hearing Radio Pledge Drives

The KSER March Into Spring Membership Drive begins this week.

Some people complain or (gasp!) change the station when they hear one of those 2-minute pledge breaks. But here are the reasons why you should absolutely love hearing public radio pledge drives - especially on community-owned independent public radio stations like KSER and KXIR.

First, it means you never have to hear commercials. And you never have to be concerned that the people paying for those commercials or the corporations that own those commercial stations are deciding what you get to hear (or not hear).  Instead of all those commercials (sometimes 20 minutes or more every hour) your financial donation is what keeps stations like KSER on the air.

Without your donations during pledge drives, you'd never get to hear Thom Hartmann or Amy Goodman.
If we don't do pledge drives and you don't make a donation, where else is Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson going to go be interviewed?
Where is Zippy, the mascot from Cafe Zippy, going to get airtime?
No pledge drives and no support from you would mean no local radio station where local artists like Preachers Wife could stop by and perform on the air with KSER's Ron Taffi.
And when you hear a pledge drive and you hear your friends and neighbors calling to support KSER and KXIR it means your neighborhood Scout troop has a new Saturday project.

Without those pledge drives and your calls of support KSER wouldn't be able to broadcast 40 free public service announcements every day for local non-profits and organizations. We wouldn't be able to support other regional events like Wintergrass, the Darrington Bluegrass Festival, The Thumbnail Theatre or The Folklife Festival.
When you hear the March Into Spring Membership Drive on KSER, don't think about how it might be briefly interrupting The Doctors or your favorite music show...think about how your support allows us to honor those who make a real difference in our communities with the KSER Voice of the Community Awards Celebration.
When national recording artist Mary Scholz is touring Snohomish County where else would she do an on-air performance if your contributions didn't keep KSER on the air?
And without a membership drive that keeps KSER on the air, what other local radio station would take an hour to host the Everett High School Jazz Band and help them raise money for a trip to Georgia for a national jazz competition?
You can probably think of dozens more reasons why stations like KSER are important to you. News and information that you won't hear much about on the 'corporate media' stations. Programs produced for KSER by organizations like Amnesty International or the Snohomish County Chapter of the League of Women Voters.  Or a full week of great music shows like Nordic Roots and Branches, Frettin' Fingers, Bluegrass Express, The Sunlit Room and much more all produced and hosted by volunteers.

So this week, and a few other weeks out of the year, when you hear people like Sondra Santos and Ed Bremer and The Doctors ask for your financial support think about how fortunate we are to have a community owned independent public radio station - or if you're on Whidbey or Camano, how you can now hear all those programs on 89.9 KXIR thanks to pledge drives and listener support.

Without pledge drives you wouldn't even be able to stop by and make a donation in person and bring along your dog for a free treat!

No dog? No problem. Just click here.