Thursday, November 16, 2017

Sandy Thompson

Our friend and extraordinary KSER supporter Sandy Thompson passed away this week.

Sandy was a dedicated volunteer and board member of KSER for more than 15 years. He had a relentless passion for independent radio, and especially for KSER, our DJs and hosts.  His volunteer work and energy for our organization was boundless.

Sandy graciously gave his time and energy to so many parts of  KSER - never missing a meeting; pitching during pledge drives; bringing food for other volunteers during drives; answering phones; making thank-you calls to donors; helping with our database and so much more. He persistently wore a KSER hat and had a KSER logo button pinned to his shirt and told every person he met about what he called 'our incredible radio station.'

I'd like to especially thank Sandy's wife, Kathy Kamel, and his loving family for sharing so much of Sandy's time and energy to help KSER.

Sandy and his family allowed us to present him with a KSER Voice of the Community Award last month at Tulalip Resort Casino to honor his years of dedication to KSER. His speech at the celebration was inspiring. 

My sincere condolences to Kathy and his family and to everyone who was touched and inspired by Sandy's incredible passion.

Thank you, Sandy!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Honoring Six Important Community Voices

It was a full house this week for the 2016 KSER Voice of the Community Award celebration at Tulalip Resort Casino.

Karen Crowley of Edmonds Center for the Arts was our MC
KSER was honored to salute six individuals and organizations, nominated by our listeners and members for their work in our communities.

Snohomish County Train Watch is a volunteer organization formed by Dean Smith to work around the clock counting and monitoring oil trains moving through the area after Smith learned that there were no statistics available to the public on such train traffic.

Curtis Rookaird was recognized for his efforts as a former BNSF railway conductor and whistle blower calling for increased safety precautions for trains hauling hazardous cargo.
Red Curtain Foundation operates the Red Curtain Theater in Marysville and has been a champion of arts and education.

Frank Fargo realized one of the things that homeless individuals needed most was to simply have a warm shower. So he created his own mobile shower which he takes to local churches, providing nearly 10,000 showers since he began his work.

Bill Corson worked to create Edge Effect, a non-profit which works with 'at risk' young people and focuses on assistance, prevention and intervention programs.

John Olson was saluted for his work as director of the Everett Community College Foundation, bringing together donors and students with assistance and scholarship programs for those seeking a better education.

Senator John McCoy presents the award to Curtis Rookaird

Frank Fargo (left); John Olson
Debbie Copple (left) of Sky Valley Arts Council presents award to Beckye Randall of Red Curtain
Bill Corson of Edge Effect
Dean Smith, Snohomish County Train Watch
Curtis & Kelly Rookaird with their sons Roman & Reese
Every year, KSER is proud to honor those who do great work in our communities. If you'd like to help us salute a deserving individual or organization, let us know.  Nominations for the 2017 Voice of the Community Awards are just a few months away.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Going 'Silent' - FAQ

We want to give our listeners something special this month: fewer interruptions to KSER programs!

We're calling it the KSER 'Silent" Pledge Drive.   So, what is a 'Silent' pledge drive?  Well, here are our answers to some Frequently Asked Questions:

Q. Is it really Silent?
A. No. Silence is generally not good for radio. But we are trying to raise the money we need without doing longer interruptions where hosts ask for support and urge you to call. We're just running a few brief promos each hour asking for your support.

Q. If you're not asking people to call, how can you get donations?
A. It's as simple as going to our web page, and clicking the big DONATE NOW button. You can make a recurring monthly donation or a one time donation to KSER.

Q. Can I still call KSER to make a financial pledge of support?
A. Sure. We don't have our normal phone bank of volunteers standing by, but we can still take your call at 425-303-9070.

Q. Will KSER be able to hit it's required goals with this kind of campaign?
A. We hope so, but that's up to our listeners.  We hope that in two weeks we're able to reach our modest goal of $40,000. But, if we're starting to see that the silent drive, by itself, isn't going to work, you will probably hear some of the more traditional pledge drive 'pitch breaks' toward the end of the campaign.

Q. Why does KSER have to do pledge drives?
A. Support from listeners makes up nearly 70% of our annual budget. Without listener support there would be no KSER.

Q. Don't you get money from the feds or the state thanks to my tax dollars?
A. No.We don't receive any funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting; no money from the federal government and nothing from the state. We don't just say we're listener powered. We really are.

Q. So what do I get for my money.
A. What you really get is all the great programming you can hear on KSER and KXIR, plus online at and on our Radio Replayer where all programs are available for two weeks after their original air-date.  You also get peace of mind knowing that the North Puget Sound has something many communities don't have - a full-power community owned radio station. Most people complain about a small handful of corporations owning a large chunk of the media landscape. But KSER is a fully independent radio operation. Your station.  But it only works with your support.

Q. If I make a donation at how do I tell you what show's I'm supporting?
A. Just leave any feedback you'd like in the comment field, like some of the donors below.

From Albert in Monroe:

 Timothy in Snohomish was listening to the Sunlit Room Wednesday morning with JJ:

From Nicholas in Everett:

Michael in Greenbank:

Peter in Edmonds listens to Flashpoints, weekdays at 6 a.m.:

When Jim in Woodway donated he wanted to make sure we knew he was listening to one of KSER's great Saturday Night 'Blues' hosts:

Our very first pledge drive was 25 years ago this month - June of 1991.

We wouldn't have survived 25 years and we wouldn't be able to attempt our first 'silent' pledge drive without your support. Thanks!

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!