Friday, August 31, 2012

KSER Manager's Mailbox - Labor Day Edition

Ahhh, a long holiday weekend!!

Blue Moon. Labor Day. Football. And, of course, in honor of workers everywhere, the KSER Weekend Manager's Mailbox.

Dear That KSER DJ Uncle Pat is off the hook! Me and some co-workers were stocking shelves at the co-op Thursday night and we had to crank up KSER. That guy was playing the wildest mix of music we've ever heard and he's such a cool-sounding DJ. We kept turning it up louder and louder. We had a few customers, but I think they were getting scared. How often is he on? Is he as wild as he sounds?  Daniel, Everett

Daniel: Every Thursday night at 7 on KSER. Every family has one crazy uncle, we've got Uncle Pat.

Dear I enjoyed Amy Goodman's coverage from the Republican Convention. She did some hard-hitting reporting. My question is will she do the same thing for the Democrats? Or is she just a Republican-Basher?  Michael, Kenmore 

Michael:  Amy will be in Charlotte this coming week for the Democratic Convention. She'll have her usual show at 5 a.m. and a two-hour special each morning at 7 a.m. on KSER starting Tuesday.  She's an equal-opportunity basher. If someone deserves tough questions, she'll ask. She's not a corporate media stenographer, but a real journalist.

Dear I think you guys have a great variety of news shows and great music shows. Is there a line-up or schedule of what show is on when?  Kim, Mukilteo

Kim: All the info in one convenient click.

Dear Love the Amy Goodman, Democracy Now convention coverage. Can't wait for the Democrats' turn. I loved the take on the Clint Eastwood craziness. How whacky is it to pretend that the president is sitting in an empty chair and then pretend you're talking to him?  Gary, Arlington

Gary: It was different. By the way, we had a live in-studio interview with President Obama Friday. We're quite proud that he stopped by KSER.

President Obama in the KSER Studio
Dear Last week you had a picture of a KSER mouse-pad. I love the station but I'm not big on wearing shirts and jackets with anyone's logo on them.  A mouse-pad, though, is something I'd use and could help display my love of the station.  Can I buy one?  Marianne, Edmonds

Marianne:  Yes, but hurry. Supplies are unlimited. Just click here. And thanks for supporting Independent Public Radio!

Unlimited Edition KSER Mouse pad

 Dear Really appreciate all the information you've provided recently about getting PSA's on the station and finding community resources. I run a small non-profit organization and that kind of info is very helpful. With the size of your audience you must get a lot of email; I hope you don't have to deal with a lot of spam.  David, Everett

David: Thanks. For those that missed it, the primer on getting your PSA's on the air is here. And the KSER community resource guide is here. And, no, we don't get much spam. Good filters, I guess.

Dear  This is to inform you of the latest development as regards the delivery of your inheritance fund by the diplomat who is presently at the JFK Int'l airport New York.Confirm your Full Name,Occupation, Residence Address & Direct Telephone Numbers. Regards, George Smith.

George:  I'll send you that info via email. Wouldn't want to post it here.Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Things I Think I Think

A few random things I think. Or think I think.

I think Ed Bremer is to KSER what Walter Cronkite was to CBS. Or what Johnny Carson was to the Tonight Show. He's been at KSER since 1990, which is pretty remarkable when you consider the station didn't actually go on the air until 1991. He was here for the launch and is still going strong every afternoon with Sound Living. Is there any other news anchor on radio or TV in the Northwest who has been at the same station for that long?

I think I'm getting jaded or old...or both. I can remember when watching the political conventions on TV actually had some purpose. You'd find out who was really going to get the nomination and who the VP pick was. Now, what's the point? It's an expensive waste...I think.

I think when a lot of radio and TV stations always talk about "news you can't get anywhere else," they're pretty much full of it. The news most of them are doing you can get a lot of other places.

I think Amy Goodman really does have a lot of news you can't get anywhere else...almost. This week her Democracy Now  show is a full two-hours and has been broadcast live from Tampa, site of the GOP convention (next week, Charlotte & the Dems). And her coverage has been excellent.  She's covering the politics but is including important stories from around the world.  I think she is remarkable.

Juan Gonzalez; Amy Goodman
I think it's pretty alarming what's happening to the newspaper business in this country.  The Seattle P-I is gone. The New Orleans Times-Picayune is now publishing just three days a week. (Who could forget this front page?) And now The Post-Standard in Syracuse, and The Patriot-News in Harrisburg will start publishing just three days a week. Not good...I think.

I think Sleepy John is really not sleepy at all. Listen to the great music on his show, Left of the Dial, Wednesday nights at 7 on KSER. Sounds wide awake to me.

I think most people may not notice, but if you listen to the Takeaway weekday mornings on KSER, there's something new. John Hockenberry is now the solo host. His former co-host Celeste Headlee has decided to work on some other projects.  And the program which originates on the east coast, is live every morning at 6 a.m. on KSER.

I think if you like Celtic music and Nordic music it's hard to beat Tuesday nights on KSER. Tuesday's at 7 p.m. it's Celtic Harvest, followed at 8:30 p.m. by Nordic Roots and Branches. Every week that is some great music.  I think.

I think tickets will go fast when we get a few more details on Amy Goodman's upcoming Everett visit. She's going to be here Saturday afternoon, October 27. We'll let you know sometime in the next week about location and how to get tickets.

I think if two great Saturday shows on KSER, "Frettin Fingers" and "Pull the String" ever merged, we could have a good time coming up with a name for the new show.

I think for starters I should have confessed that I stole, uh, borrowed this theme. "Some things I think I think" was a great weekly column written by one of the world's greatest newspaper guys, the late Phil Musick. Phil was a columnist for the Pittsburgh Press and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.  I worked with him at WTAE radio in Pittsburgh in the 90's.

Phil would be happy that someone is reviving one of his trademarks. I think.

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Better Mouse Trap (And Pledge Drive)

Wrong Kind of Mouse

For nearly as long as they've been trying to invent a better-mouse trap; they've also been trying to invent a better pledge drive.

This past weekend I stumbled across a story on CNET about public radio and pledge drives. And that's something we spend a lot of time having meetings about at KSER.

And when you start reading about pledge drives there's often a lot of misinformation.

For example, the CNET story started off this way:  "For anyone who listens to public radio, there may be no greater annoyance than the semi-regular pledge drives that seem to go on for weeks and constantly interrupt your favorite programs."

That's might be a well-written, attention-grabbing sentence to start an article, but I'd have to label it fiction, not fact.

Surely if you listen to KSER or any other public or community radio station there has to be something in your life more annoying that a pledge drive. If not, then you're living the good life. And if a station like KSER does 4 pledge drives in a year, can that be considered semi-regular?

The last KSER pledge drive lasted 7 days. Some last 10. I don't think any have ever gone on longer than that. Now, maybe that might seem like 'weeks' to some people, but not to me. (Although I did spend 4 days with the in-laws once that seemed like weeks.)

And 'constantly' interrupting your favorite programs?  I guess compared to how seldom KSER programs are ever interrupted, maybe 4 or 5 three-minute pledge breaks per hour might seem like constant.  But, compare that to commercial stations that frequently broadcast 5 or 6 straight minutes of commercials in 4 or 5 commercial breaks every single hour day and night!

I can't speak for other public stations, but here are a few facts about pledge drives and KSER.  In a normal year we conduct four pledge drives lasting anywhere from 7 to 10 days each. During the time we are doing pledge drives, we still provide all of our normal programming. We slightly shorten some segments, but we do not eliminate or preempt any of our shows.  Each 'pledge break' lasts about 3 or 4 minutes and we normally do about 4 per hour.

Now, I will admit that off the air we spend a lot more time than that talking about and planning for pledge drives. And, believe it or not,  we spend most of that time trying to figure out ways to make the whole experience better for you! 

Many public radio stations have tried a lot of different approaches to pledge drives. There was the so-called 'silent' pledge drive where they just ran a few promos. They weren't exactly silent, but they also didn't exactly work.  Some have tried being more serious, some more funny.  Some stations give away tote-bags and ipads and umbrellas. But that's just another thing they have to spend money on.  Your money.

One public radio station in San Francisco recently launched a new system allowing listeners who contribute, to never have to hear a pledge break again. How?  Contributors are given a pass code and can listen to a special separate 'feed' of the station's audio online or on smartphones without the pledge breaks.  As far as I can tell, the station is not talking about how many thousands of dollars they spent to develop the system or how much they spend to provide the pledge-free audio feed. Maybe it's a good idea, but if you're going to be kind enough to contribute to KSER, I don't want to see us spending your money...thousands of dollars...on a technical system we'd use 4 weeks a year. I'd rather make sure you keep getting the programming you want 52 weeks a year.

But that is where you can help. Sure, we rely on you for financial support. But we also count on you for feedback, advice, direction and even content.  We get feedback all the time from our listeners about much of our programming, especially the music shows.  People are frequently telling us what we could differently or better....or, believe it or not, some things they don't like!

You know those people who are always trying to invent the better mouse trap?  Some people are always trying do the same with radio pledge drives. Maybe that will be you. So, if you have a suggestion or a good idea (heck, even a bad idea) let us know.

An awful lot of the best programming on KSER comes from people who used to be just listeners. Listeners who became volunteer DJ's or volunteer contributors to our news and public affairs shows. So maybe one of our listeners...maybe you...will invent the better pledge drive.

If you come up with something great, we'll be having a lot fewer meetings!

Friday, August 24, 2012

KSER Weekend Mailbox

Final weekend of August! Time for another highly anticipated edition of the KSER Manager's Mailbox. This week our inbox was absolutely bloated with mail. Sure, most of it was spam, but there were a couple insightful questions from our very sophisticated listeners. And there were these:

Dear You've been promoting Amy Goodman being at the GOP convention. But will any GOPer in his/her right mind dare talk to Amy? And she's on in the morning, all the hot convention action will be at night?  Mark, Everett

Mark:  "Hot convention action?" Remember, what happens in Tampa stays in Tampa...unless someone posts it on YouTube.  Even if the poobahs don't talk with Amy, she will get the stories and have the insight you won't get on the TV networks. And the next morning is when Amy will have the scoops.  Remember she's doing a special 2-hour show each morning at 7 starting Monday on KSER.

Dear    Last weekend I heard some big band music on the car radio and I'm pretty sure it was KSER. I didn't think anyone played that kind of music anymore. Was it KSER? Or am I confused?  I love that stuff, and I'm only 28.  Dan, Bothell.

Dan:  Button up your Zoot suit. It probably was KSER. Every Saturday morning at 9, KSER presents The Big Bandstand with Steve Ward. Steve knows Big Band inside out and is an outstanding DJ. That's his picture below with Glenn Miller. (Steve's the good looking one without a trombone.)

Dear   I really like how you have so many loco people at your station. And I know it's mostly volunteers. What do you have to do to volunteer at the station.  Terri, Lake Stevens

Terri:  I'm going to assume that was a typo and you meant 'local' people. Or have we met?  Anyway, here's where you can get all the volunteer info.

Dear  Why is it that someone like Ed Bremer or Amy Goodman can have a guest on the radio for 20 or 30 minutes and ask really probing questions and get really in-depth answers, but then I turn on the big Seattle stations and they're talking about Dancing with the Stars or Kim Kardashian. If they do get into serious topics they spend maybe 15 or 20 seconds before getting back to People magazine stuff. Is that because they get better ratings or what?  William, Arlington

William: Some of those big stations are airing 4, 5, sometimes 6 commercial breaks every single hour.  And some of those commercial breaks last 5 or 6 minutes.  Do the math. It's pretty hard to do an in-depth interview when you're interrupted for commercials every 7 minutes.  And some of the big companies advertising their products don't really want certain controversial issues talked about near their commercial messages.

Dear  We just moved to Snohomish County from California. Love the information and music on KSER, but we're still trying to figure out the transit schedules, schools and that kind of stuff. Could you recommend a good directory for local info.  Alicia, Everett

Alicia:  A great starting place is the KSER website. Just click on the handy 'community' link at the top of the page or click here. And welcome to the Northwest!

Dear  I saw someone at the Everett Crafts Beer festival wearing a KSER hat that was so cool.  It wasn't a baseball hat, more of a military type cap.  How can I get one of those?  Don, Shoreline

Don:  You can click here to buy the KSER military style cap or tons of other cool merchandise. And, remember, you'll not only be supporting independent public radio, but you'll also be hiding your receding hair line!

Dear  Just my opinion, but I don't think you write enough about the music or the artists and you spend too much space promoting ways for people to donate to KSER or buy a bunch of crap with KSER logos all over it. I don't want to sound mean but for all the good that does you may as well just post a picture of a dog, or something.  Lisa, Everett

Lisa: Thanks. This pups for you!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Art? Radio? Both!

"Is that some kind of art building?"

A guy getting out of his car on Wetmore Ave. with his wife asked me that question this week.  I was a little confused at first, but then realized he was pointing at our building.  I told him, no, that's KSER Radio.

Later I realized he was actually right.  It is some kind of art building.

That large cut-out mural on the side of the building was designed and created by 2010 Snohomish County Artist of the Year Jules Anslow.

Her work might look familiar. She also created the Lowellife Throne, a concrete sculpture in Lowell Park. And in 2007 for Seattle's "Pigs on Parade" she created two of the wildly popular at Pike Place Market and another at the Space Needle.

When KSER moved into it's current location she installed the artwork on the side of our building in 2006.

It's makes it  pretty hard to miss KSER when you're on Wetmore.

Another well-known local artist generously installed some of her outstanding work inside the KSER studios. Karen Guzak, who is also the mayor of Snohomish, created an outstanding display from cut metals inside the KSER Community Room.

Karen Guzak's KSER Community Room Display
 In addition to her art contribution, Karen has been an outstanding partner and supporter of KSER. Now it seems like almost every visitor to KSER asks about the Community Room metal art display.

A new KSER volunteer decided to turn the KSER building and studios into a photographic art project. And when he completed the project, Nigel Bardsley donated his finished work to us..and it's now also on display in our Community Room.

Photos by Nigel Bardsley

We may not have the most modern, glistening office building in downtown Everett, but may have the most character and flair, thanks to the artists whose work graces the KSER World Headquarters.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Democracy Now! KSER Convention Specials

Amy Goodman and the staff of Democracy Now are gearing up for special coverage from the political conventions, starting next Monday at the Republican Convention in Tampa.

Next week you will be able to listen to a special 2-hour-long edition of Democracy Now every morning at 7 a.m. until 9 a.m. with extra coverage from the Republican convention.

Juan Gonzalez; Amy Goodman

You'll still be able to hear the normal 1-hour version of Democracy Now at both 5 a.m. and 5 p.m. on KSER.  But if you're looking for Amy and Juan's special take on politics in longer form set your alarm for 7 a.m. every morning next week (August 27 through August 31) for a 2-hour Democracy Now special.

Amy and Juan will also broadcast two-hour specials on KSER from the Democratic convention in Charlotte September 4 through September 7.

Here's another alert for Amy Goodman fans.  She's coming to Everett!

Amy and Denis Moynihan will do a special KSER event in Everett at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 27.  It's part of a national 100-city tour to promote "The Silenced Majority," a new book Amy has written with Denis.

We'll have details on location and ticket information later this week.  Listen to 90.7 FM for details.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Your Organization, Non-Profit, Business On The Air

One of the questions we're asked most frequently is, "How can my organization get our message out to the public on KSER?"

We try to make it as easy as possible.  If your non-profit or organization has an upcoming event and you're looking for publicity, here's how you can get 'on the air'

Put your Non-Profit behind the KSER mic!

We're more than happy to run acceptable Public Service Announcements from non-profit organizations and community groups in Snohomish, Island, Skagit, and King counties.  And we do it for free.

The easiest way to get your free announcement on KSER is to submit a suggested script and fill out a form on the KSER website.  You can always send announcements in regular mail as well.  Here's our mailing address:

2623 Wetmore Ave
Everett, WA 98201

If you're submitting a Public Service Announcement (PSA) for your organization you should remember to include the important points. Always try to answer the obvious questions of who, what, when, where, why and how. If it's a hearing or event, make sure to include dates, locations and times.

You don't need to record your announcement. KSER announcers will read it live. 

Another question we get is, 'How long should it be?"  KSER PSA's are 20 seconds. That may not seem like much, but you can get a lot of information into that time frame. When you write your announcement, read it back to gauge the time.

And don't wait too long.  We prefer to have PSA scripts at least two weeks prior to your event.  Earlier, if possible.

If you are in charge of a business, you can also get great positive publicity for your brand by using KSER.  If you're trying to create greater community awareness for your business, you should consider becoming a KSER underwriter.  It's a very cost effective way to both get your company's name in front of our loyal audience and help support KSER.  You can find more information on our website.  

Put your business on air at KSER

There are a number of ways you can get your message on KSER. It's a great way to reach a valuable and loyal audience.  We're here to help!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Weekend Manager's Mailbox

Another weekend, the worst of the heat is over. Time to chill out with another edition of the highly acclaimed (cough) KSER Manager's Mailbox:

Dear  Aaack, I keep hearing songs I like on KSER but sometimes I can't stick around long enough to hear the name of the song or the artist. Is there a way to find out what the DJ played?  Bernie, Gold Bar

Bernie:  You can always track down our playlist online. Just go to and click on live playlist. You can also listen to past shows, both music shows and all of our news and public affairs programs for the past two weeks, using the radio replayer button.

Dear  Hi, I moved to Alaska about 2 years ago but I still listen to KSER a lot when I'm at home.  I listen online.  But, I'm on the road a lot and would like to listen on my I-phone. Is there a way to do that?  Leonard, Wasilla

Leonard: It's easy. Go to App Store. Search for the Public Radio Exchange (PRX) app. Once you get the app, simply search for and bookmark KSER and you can listen on your phone anytime, almost anywhere. Even if you go moose-hunting with you know who.

Dear My favorite program on KSER is Amy Goodman. I've been listening for several months now.  Can you tell me how I can learn more about her?  David, Everett

David: There are a few links and background info on Amy in this recent KSER story.  And Amy is about to launch a 2-month, 100 city tour to promote her new book she has written with Denis Moynihan. It's called The Silenced Majority. The tour includes a KSER stop in Everett just before the election on Saturday, October 27.  We're working on details and looking forward to her visit.  Stay tuned.

Dear I just started listening to KSER and I heard your announcers talking about ballots and voting for the board of directors?  But I don't know how you vote or what the voting is for or even what the board is really for. I love your station can you tell me more about it?  Dennis, Seattle

Dennis:  Anyone who is a member of the station is eligible to vote. And anyone who contributes at least $35 in a calendar year becomes a station member.  There's a board of directors election once per year.  The board members serve on a volunteer basis and are local citizens who help guide and control the operation and future of KSER, which is a non-profit community station.  If you'd like to become a member, you can sign up here. We mail out ballots every year at election time. And not only do you get to vote and help decide the direction of the station, you'll also be making an important and vital contribution to local community radio.

Dear  Not sure if you're the right guy to ask this, I love KSER but my girlfriend always switches the station to some hip-hop stuff.  Should I go along with her?  Put my foot down? Get a new girlfriend?  Any advice? Sean, Lynnwood

Sean:  I'm not the right guy. Try the Stranger.

Dear  Have you ever thought about playing more music from Hawaii?  I love Aloha Friday, but it's only an hour and I'm often working and miss it.  Please think about playing more!  Emma, Mill Creek

Emma:  We already do. Every weekend. Check out Da Coconut Wireless every Sunday afternoon for 2 hours at 5 p.m.

Dear That one DJ you guys have, Van Ramsey, has a band. I heard you guys play some of their stuff.  They are great. What's their name and where can I see them?  Luke, Lake Stevens

Luke: Van Ramsey's band is the Wild Snohomians. They play a lot of places. They're at the Everett Craft Beer Festival this Saturday; at Lake Stevens Music in the Park next Thursday; and the Evergreen State Fair next Friday...among others. They've reached a stature somewhere between the Grateful Dead and the Beatles.  Sort of.

Dear I saw that picture on your website earlier this week of the four outgoing members of your board of directors. I couldn't help but notice that they all are wearing the same designer eyewear. My eye prescription just changed and I need new frames. Can you tell me where I can get those?  Sasha, Everett

Sasha:  They're Versace's. Try Neiman-Marcus.

Sandy Thompson; Tom Killorin; Karen Crowley; Miriam Driss

Dear  Do you think maybe you overdo how often you ask for people to contribute to KSER?  Otherwise I like your blog a lot.  Mike, Arlington

Mike:  Thanks for the tip. And I like you, too. Oh, check out this cool link! 

The Mayor Visits KSER

Maybe he's the mayor that brings the weather extremes.

The last time Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson visited KSER, we were digging out from a January snow storm.  Friday he arrives and we're suffering through what people in the Northwest call a heat wave.

Mayor Stephanson getting ready for questions.

KSER's Ed Bremer interviewed the Mayor for a full hour Friday afternoon on Sound Living.

The Mayor said he is closely monitoring the plans to tear down the now closed Kimberly Clark plant on the Everett Waterfront and the plans to sell the land.

Mayor Stephanson said it is industrial zoned land with a deep-water port.  He wants to make sure the public has input on the plans to replace Kimberly Clark on the 66 acre waterfront property.  The Mayor told Ed that Kimberly Clark is hopeful the building can be torn down, the land cleaned and one developer will purchase the land. But it probably won't be that simple.

There will probably be several buyers and developers.  The mayor says so far the ground contaminants in the area are not greater than Kimberly Clark had projected and expected and he says that's very good news.

The City Planning Department will have a public workshop on the land and it's use next Tuesday. You can find more information here.

The Mayor says the opportunity to build and maintain fishing fleet ships at that site would be an attractive option.  He also thinks some aerospace assembly could be realistic.  But he wants to avoid uses that would lead to odor, smoke and noise but could still provide a significant number of jobs.

KSER's Ed Bremer talks with Mayor Stephanson

Mayor Stephanson said one thing he doesn't want the land used for is a ferry terminal.  He says such a use would lead to major traffic congestion with very little economic benefit. He's hopeful we can end up with land use that will lead to new jobs and public access of the land.

The Mayor says he's hopeful that over the next 6 months we'll get a clearer picture of how the land will ultimately be used.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


You don't need to put a name under that picture.

Everyone recognizes an amazing icon. It seems like the entire Northwest was hurting this week hearing the news about the death of legendary Seattle TV news anchor Kathi Goertzen. Few people can ever have that kind of impact on an entire region. She was an excellent reporter who became a trusted and enduring TV anchor. Being that successful for that long in the broadcast business is tough. But she made it look easy.  She was that good.

She was respected by colleagues and competitors.  She was loved by her family. She was admired by people she worked with every day and by people she never met. She worked hard at her job and worked just as hard for numerous charities. An inspiring person.

Most of us were also incredibly inspired by the way she handled the health challenges that impacted the final years of her wonderful life and remarkable career.  At 54, she died way too young.

When I first heard the sad news I also couldn't help but think of Aloha Friday.  That may seem odd, and I hope it doesn't seem disrespectful, so let me explain. KSER's popular Friday at noon Hawaiian music hour "Aloha Friday" is hosted by Donn Erisman.

And Donn, for the past few years, was following the news about Kathi Goertzen probably a lot more closely than many people. Donn is courageously dealing with a medical condition almost identical to the condition that impacted Kathi...non-cancerous epidermoid.  Donn's tumor is located in a different part of the brain than the tumors that Kathi dealt with.  But like her, Donn has had to undergo some pretty daunting surgical procedures three far.

Donn decked out for Aloha Friday
Donn grew up in Juneau, Alaska. He went to the University of Alaska at Fairbanks and actually got his first job in radio when he was 13.  His broadcast career blossomed and he also became a very successful TV news director.  Donn says he always had health challenges, even from a young age, but no one could figure out why.

Then, in 2003 they figured it out. Brain tumor.

He had what they called a very slow growing, benign tumor on his brain.  Doctors told him it was probably there from birth. By the time of it's discovery it had grown to the size of an orange. So, in 2003 he underwent his first round of serious brain surgery and intense follow-up treatment. Then a second, and then a third round of surgery.

Doctors have not been able to remove all traces of the tumor even after three surgeries.  But the tumor and the surgeries and the difficulties it creates have not been able to keep Donn down.

He says the tumor affected a lot of things in his life, including his relationships and career. He suffers from short-term memory challenges and he's no longer able to drive because of the threat of seizures. The tumor and multiple surgeries have also slightly affected his speech pattern but he still sounds great on the radio. And he continues to do what he loves and has a positive attitude that might embarrass some very healthy people.

Morgan; Kyle & Brandon with their dad, Donn

Donn has recording studio equipment in his home where he puts together some of the music segments for his weekly show.  And at least twice a week he makes the trip from Marysville to the KSER studios in Everett to do show prep and then to do his live 3-hour show every Friday from 12 noon to 3 p.m. which always includes the Aloha Friday hour at noon.

And here's a little-known fact about Donn that may surprise you. Even though he launched Aloha Friday and selects all the music and talks about the artists, he's never been to Hawaii.  He's hoping to make it some day.

And like all of the DJ's you hear around the clock, 7 days a week on KSER, Donn is a volunteer. He puts in 16 to 20 hours in a normal week putting together his show, helping with the KSER website and often filling in for other DJ's.

Kathi Goertzen waged a courageous battle and was very open about her tumors. She talked about how she didn't want to hide from her illness. She worked and lived life to the fullest as long as possible. And even set up a foundation to raise funds for brain tumor research.

Donn Erisman is fighting the same battle and not hiding from his challenges.  To me, they're both incredible inspirations. We're all hoping for many more years of Aloha Fridays.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

New KSER Board of Directors Members

There were no satellite trucks parked outside; no hanging chads; no calls for a recount and not one of the TV networks projected a winner prematurely.

The KSER Foundation annual meeting was held Tuesday night and included the official ballot count for the 2012 Board of Directors election.  There were 5 open positions for the board and five candidates running unopposed to fill each position.  One current board member, Pam Somers, was re-elected and four local community leaders were elected new members of the KSER Foundation board of directors.

The four new KSER members are Cheryl Telford; David Kosar; Brad Goergen and Marla Hamilton Lucas.
Cheryl Telford

Brad Goergen

Marla Hamilton Lucas
David Kosar

   Cheryl Telford is a resident of La Conner and is the Strategic Partnerships Manager for Sno-Isle Libraries.

   Marla Hamilton Lucas is a small business owner from Snohomish. She is a Washington State CPA and a member of Snohomish Toastmasters. 
                                                                                                              David Kosar lives in Everett and is owner and President, David Kosar Insurance Agency, American Family Insurance. He is also a member of the advisory board, WSU, College of Education.

   Brad Goergen is a resident of Edmonds and is an attorney with Graham & Dunn, PC. He is a member of Leadership Snohomish County and Western Oregon University Foundation.

The vote tabulation Tuesday evening was open to the public, and ballots were counted and double checked at the public meeting.
The KSER Board Vote Count

 Welcome to the new KSER Board Members!  Just like the more than 100 volunteers who work behind the scenes and on the air to keep KSER up and running, the KSER Board of Directors are also all volunteers. They, too, give their time and effort to maintain a great community radio resource in the North Puget Sound.
Pam Somers
 And a special thanks to four now 'former' board members who have decided to take a break from the rigors of KSER board work.  Karen Crowley, Tom Killorin, Miriam Driss and Sandy Thompson can now get some of their free time back...for a while.
KSER Board President Brenda Mann Harrison thanking outgoing Board Members

Sandy Thompson; Tom Killorin; Karen Crowley; Miriam Driss

 Because of their hard work and dedication the outgoing KSER Board Members were given very fancy certificates and extremely valuable red plastic glasses!

Did you know that you can vote for the KSER Board of Directors once a year?  Every KSER Member gets a vote.  One way to become a member is to contribute $35 or more to KSER. It only takes minutes and a few clicks to contribute online.  One popular way to support the independent, community voice of KSER is to become a recurring member. Sign up and have an amount that works for your budget contributed automatically to KSER once a month.

Not only will you be supporting KSER, but you'll have a say in it's future when you cast your ballot next election!

Monday, August 13, 2012

News That Gives Voice to Struggles

Many KSER listeners tell us there is one host and one show that they try to absolutely never miss: Amy Goodman and Democracy Now!

Amy Goodman

Just like KSER, Amy Goodman and Democracy Now is a non-profit, proudly independent broadcast that relies heavily on the financial support of listeners.  As regular KSER listeners know, Amy asks questions many reporters won't ask; get's guests that many media organizations wouldn't touch; and even get's arrested for her efforts.

The New York Times published what some describe as the definitive Amy Goodman article late last year.

And while it would be rare to see the major network Sunday morning talk shows include Amy as a guest, she did appear last month on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher.  You can see the program here.

Juan Gonzalez

Amy and co-host Juan Gonzalez are supported by a great staff of leading progressive journalists, producers and volunteers.  You can read about the Democracy Now staff here.

And remember, Amy and Juan are working for a non-profit program that's being aired on non-profit community supported stations like KSER. Her model is dramatically different from the typical network television news reporter or anchor. You may remember the media buzz recently over the $25-million annual contract for NBC's Matt Lauer.

The Daily Beast recently did a report on the salaries of Lauer and others. Diane Sawyer makes $12-million annually; Anderson Cooper: $11-million.  You can read the Daily Best network salary story here.

That's not to suggest that those anchors aren't worth the money they are paid by the corporations that own the networks.  After all, they generate ratings that sells advertising that keeps the corporate networks profitable.

But think about that the next time you're listening to Amy Goodman and wondering why she's covering stories and asking questions you won't hear almost anywhere else.

Reminder: Time's running out if you want to make a nomination for KSER's annual Voice of the Community Award.  Nominations must be received by this Wednesday, August 15.  You can find out more and make a nomination here.

And of course, you can always help support KSER and independent public radio. It just takes a few clicks and a few minutes online. Thanks!

Friday, August 10, 2012

KSER Weekend Mailbox

It’s the weekend. And time for another edition of the KSER Mailbox:

Dear   I hear you guys talk about your radio replayer. But what the heck is it?  There are some past shows I’d like to hear, but not sure how to do it. Help?   Robert, Arlington

Robert:  It’s easy. We archive all of our shows for two weeks. So anything you’ve heard in the past 14 days you can listen to again (or for the first time) online.  Just go to our website, On the left side of the home page, click on listen live, to hear what’s on the air now or click on Radio Replayer to listen to past shows.

Dear  A friend of mine says that all radio stations these days do what he called ‘voice tracking’ and the on-air people are actually recorded and not even in the studio. I told him it sounds like the KSER people are all in the studio.  Am I right?  What is voice tracking?  Diane, Everett

Diane:  You are right. And your friend is almost right. Many radio stations use a technique called voice tracking. The DJ records his ‘talking’ segments (the times he/she talks between records) in digital audio.  Then a computer program inserts those talk breaks between the songs being played on the station.  Sometimes there is no DJ in the studio at the time you’re listening.  Sometimes the DJ isn’t even in the same city or state.  Some DJ’s will voice-track shows on multiple stations.   We don’t use voice tracking at KSER.  Our DJ’s and local news hosts are all live.  And our local hosts are in the KSER studios.  

Dear  I like how sometimes you guys have local bands in the studio answering questions and performing on the radio live. I just heard Austin Jenckes a while back, by accident.  Is there anywhere you can let us know in advance when you’re having bands on KSER?  Brad, Mill Creek

Brad:  Glad you like that. Austin Jenckes of Duvall (now living in Nashville) was on with Ron Taffi  on KSER’s Sunlit room two weeks ago.  Sometimes we find out on very short notice that bands/performers are going to be on the air.  But we’ll try to post a notice in advance online and on the KSERfm Twitter feed. Coming up next Thursday at about 1 p.m. Ron will have the Bellevue band Sightseer in studio.


Dear My husband and I love KSER and we like to contribute when you do your pledge drives. We love supporting local community radio.  But we were on vacation in July and we learned you did a pledge drive while we in Hawaii.  Can you tell us when you will have another pledge drive?  Doug & Sarah, Marysville

Sarah & Doug:  You are the first known humans to ever ask for a pledge drive schedule!! But, since you asked, the next KSER Pledge Drive starts Friday, September 28. But, you never have to wait for a pledge drive to support KSER. It’s fast and easy online and available 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Heck, you can even go to the KSER website and purchase cool shirts and water bottles for your next trip to Hawaii!

Way Cool Water Bottle

Dear  I drove by what I guess is the KSER building on Wetmore this week. Sheesh, what kind of place do you call that?  Nickie, Everett

Nickie:  Most of us refer to it as the KSER World Heaquarters or the KSER Compound. But, mostly, we just call it home. By the way, did I mention that you can donate to KSER online 24/7?

KSER World Headquarters
 If you have a questions, comments, compliments or even gripes you can leave a message below or email  Have a nice weekend!

Hibulb Center on Sound Living

It's truly a Northwest Treasure, the Hibulb Cultural Center.  It's a place of learning and civic pride for the Tulalip people and surrounding communities.

Canoe Hall photo by Hibulb Cultural Ctr 

The incredible center is open to the public for conducted and self-guided tours.  But this week KSER's Ed Bremer gets an up close one-on-one tour and you can hear all about it today (Friday, August 10) at 4 p.m. on KSER 90.7fm.  You can also listen online live or listen later with our online radio replayer.

KSER's Ed Bremer
Ed will have insight about the remarkable history and culture of the Tulalip people and fascinating details about the exhibits, tours and details of the center.

Hibulb Cultural Ctr. Photo
The Hibulb Cultural Center is open to the public Tuesday through Friday from 10 AM to 5 PM and Saturday and Sunday from 12 PM to 5 PM.  Don't miss Ed's special Sound Living today at 4 p.m. on 90.7FM.

While you're planning your weekend, you should consider this important event going on at the Sikh Center of Seattle.
Gurudwara Sikh Centre of Seattle (GSCS) is sending its condolences to those affected by the Oak Creek, Wisconsin Gurudwara shootings.  GSCS will be hosting a vigil to honor victims of the shooting on Saturday, August 11th at 8:30 pm. All are welcome to attend, regardless of religious beliefs or cultural background. A donation campaign for the victims of the attacks and more information can be found here.

 If you want to learn more The Huffington Post had an informative article this week on 5 Things You Should Know about the Sikh Religion.


Thursday, August 9, 2012


KSER is proud to be a media sponsor for the upcoming Slow Food Roots Music Festival. It's Saturday and Sunday, August 25 and 26 at the Stanwood Camano Fairgrounds.

They've got their own healthy version of Fair Food.  There's also a schedule of great speakers and beer and wine gardens.  And, of course, great music featuring the Iguanas and Chuck Prophet.
The Iguanas

Chuck Prophet

KSER "Juke Joint" DJ Jon Noe will be there soaking up the music and staffing the KSER booth.
Jon Noe & Pal

Among the speakers at this years festival, will be Dr. Les Berenson. He's a doctor of internal medicine and a GMO specialist.  And chef Diane LaVonne of Diane's Market Kitchen.

Chef Diane LaVonne
Dr. Les Berenson

You can buy tickets here. And when you're enjoying the great music, healthy food (and beer) make sure to stop by and say hello to KSER's Jon Noe!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


What could be better than a weekend on Whidbey Island, staying at the Country Cottage of Langley and having dinner at Prima Bistro?!

One lucky KSER member is now planning such a weekend.  Today, we held our drawing from our recent KSER Renewal Sweepstakes.  Sunlit Room host Gwen reached into the CKGDB (Ceremonial KSER Glass Drawing Bowl) and fished out the winning ticket...

Gwen & the CKGDB
Cathy of Snohomish is the listener whose name was on the ticket, so we called her with the good news and we're getting ready to send out the gift certificates.

Thanks to the Country Cottage of Langley for providing us with the accommodations.
And thanks to Prima Bistro of Langley for helping to make the prize so special.
The deck at Prima Bistro
Cathy, of Snohomish, was entered in our sweepstakes when she responded to our recent renewal notice. Members with recurring memberships were also included.

So, special thanks to Cathy and all of our members who help support KSER and local community radio. And, remember, if you'd like to join Cathy and the other members who keep KSER pumping out great local news and public affairs and great local music artists you can sign up here.

One more reminder for our members. Chances are you've already returned your ballot for our KSER Board of Directors election. But if you haven't you still have time to mail it in or bring it to the station during our KSER Annual Meeting next Tuesday, August 14 at 7 p.m.  We're located at 2623 Wetmore Avenue in Everett.  Public invited!