Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Singer-Songwriters who visit KSER

One of the newest volunteers at KSER is George Bentley.  You won't hear George on the air.  He's now one of those radio guys whose work you can SEE!  George is a great photographer, and video editor.

When we have a musical performer on one of the KSER shows, George usually shows up and takes pictures.  And video.  Not only that, but he usually talks the performers into going outside and doing what George calls, "KSER Outdoor Sessions."  So, to help you relax on the long Thanksgiving weekend, here's some of Georges work and some of his pics.

Special thanks to Ian McFeron and Alisa Milner for appearing with Ron Taffi on KSER's Sunlit Room.

Thanks to Tony Lucca, of The Voice fame,  and his band for appearing with Ron.

Ron also featured Sightseer on the Sunlit Room.

Miss Nicolette hosted Northern Departure on the Sunday morning Bluegrass Express.

And Left Hand Smoke made a special appearance on KSER's Sunlit Room.

If you're not regularly listening to the great music shows on KSER you're probably going to miss some spectacular performances by great local artists.

And extra thanks to KSER volunteer George Bentley of GeorgieCat Productions for the great videos. You can see more of George's musical photo work here. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Ian McFeron visits KSER

Seattle singer-songwriter Ian McFeron stopped by KSER this week to talk with KSER's Ron Taffi and to play a few songs from his newest project. See if you agree with some who have called Ian the Northwest's answer to Bob Dylan. Watch the video of his KSER:

Ian has been recording in both the Northwest and Nashville.  You can read more about him and his music here.

Ian McFeron; Ron Taffi; Alisa Milner

Ian McFeron in the KSER Studio

You can see more of the photos of Ian's KSER visit here.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

KSER Volunteer Howard Winningham

For more than a decade every single thing you heard on the air at KSER was, in a way, scheduled by Howard Winningham.

Howard was one of more than 100 dedicated volunteers at our independent public radio station.  Many of them you hear on the air, but many more work behind the scenes.  Howard wanted to be a behind the scenes guy.  And he was. All the time.  Every single week, regardless of the weather...snow, rain, earthquakes...Howard Winningham showed up at KSER every single Saturday morning like clockwork to prepare our 'program logs', the schedule that we follow around the clock on the air.

Sadly, Howard died this week after a brief illness.  Howard was one of those people who lived alone and didn't care to do a lot of socializing with many of the other people at KSER. It was just his style.  But, a week ago, when he didn't show up for his regular volunteer shift and we tried to call him to make sure he was okay, he didn't return our calls. So, many of us are feeling pretty depressed that Howard was hospitalized and we didn't know.

Howard had a big laugh and a big personality and was a big man.  Even he told me once, "I'm too big, I need to lose some of this weight." But his over-sized frame was part of his character.

KSER's Ed Bremer worked with Howard a lot longer than I did and describes him this way:  Howard was an airplane mechanic working for Boeing and Goodrich at Paine Field. He never wanted to go on the air...he never wanted to have a show.  He was perfectly happy to sit at the station's front desk struggling with the computer, putting together our program schedule. He was smart, witty and just a really nice guy.

Remember KSER's Mad Mad Moscowitz?  Howard was his biggest fan.

His other great love was barbecue. And he was quite the expert, even starting his own business and a blog where you can still read Howard's advice on everything from the best grills to the best meats and recipes.

Howard Winningham was one of those people who was always there. Never missed a day, no matter what.  If Woody Allen is right that "90% of life is showing up," then Howard had a good life, because he always showed up.

Thanks, Howard...for all you did to help keep KSER special!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Northern Departure visits KSER

Serious bluegrass fans try to never miss Bluegrass Express every Sunday morning at 11 a.m. on KSER.  But this past weekend was very special.  Northwest bluegrass icons Northern Departure stopped by to do some talking, picking and playing with KSER's Miss Nicolette.

Northern Departure stopped by KSER this past Sunday morning and played several great songs in our community room live on 90.7 FM.  Nick Dumas, Derek Gray, Austin McGregor, and Will McSeveney all talked with KSER's Miss Nicolette and played for about 30 minutes before hitting the road again.

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Miss Nicolette

Northern Departure at KSER

Thanks to Northern Departure for stopping by KSER Sunday and entertaining our listeners on 90.7 FM. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

KSER's Voice of the Community Awards

Thanks to the more than 200 people who packed the Weyerhaeuser Room at Everett Transit Station Saturday night for the 5th annual KSER Voice of the Community Awards Ceremony.

The KSER selection committee faced the challenge of determining award recipients from among an amazing list of individuals and organizations that make our community special.

Roger Pawley; Jan Vance; Lillian Ortiz-Self
The KSER Voice of the Community Award for Cultural Impact was presented to the Snohomish County Music Project.  Executive Director Roger Pawley runs the Project which was founded in 2011 by refocusing the Everett Symphony.  The group educates the public on the importance of music instruction and advocates for the funding of music educations programs.

The award for the category of Community Impact by an Organization was presented to MS Helping Hands of Edmonds.  MS Helping Hands is a statewide, all-volunteer organization formed to increase awareness of Multiple Sclerosis to the public and provide people with MS and their families a resource of education and support. MS Helping Hands Executive Director Jan Vance accepted the award.

And the award for the category of Community Impact by an Individual was presented to Lillian Ortiz-Self who drew a standing ovation for her powerful speech advocating for greater equality within the Latino community.  As a counselor at Everett High School, Lillian provides Latino students and their parents with vital information.  She also serves as an advisor for the Latin Image Club, which gives Latino students a safe place to express their ethnicity and bridge barriers to their academic success.  She has also served as the Chair of the Washington State Commission on Hispanic Affairs and developed the Leading Change through Advocacy training program to bring together parents and community members to learn how to be better advocates for Latino children in public schools.

Congratulations to the award winners and all the nominees and thanks for making our community so special.  And thanks to everyone who attended and made the sold-out evening such a success! 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Frettin' Fingers for Fifteen Years!

Mark your calendar.  Saturday, November 17th, 2012, 11 a.m.

KSER's Jim Hilmar will reach a milestone: 15 years of hosting his popular Frettin' Fingers program on 90.7 FM.

KSER's Jim Hilmar
It was back on November 19, 1997 when Jim sat behind the mike for the first time and hosted his very first "Frettin'Fingers, The Guitar Music Show" on KSER.

Back then, when Jim started he was a radio novice, but he was already a world-class guitar expert.  Not only was he a great picker, but he also was a professional writer for a couple of guitar publications; notably writing the popular monthly “SPOTLIGHT” column for Vintage Guitar Magazine for 10 years.

So the guitar part was a natural for Jim and now he's a veteran radio guy too, with a decade and a half of experience.  He's part of the amazing Saturday lineup on KSER that also includes Steve Ward's Big Bandstand; the Juke Joint; Pull the String and Dusties!   
Through the years, Jim has interviewed great guitar players like Brian Setzer, Jimmy Bruno, Larry Collins, Speedy West, Gary Potter and Leon Rhodes and drummer Jan Kurtis. He's also written liner notes for numerous CD’s including projects by Howard Roberts, Pearl Django, High Noon, Lester Peabody, The Rainieros, Scotty Anderson, Gary Potter, Joe Cohn and more.

Jim Hilmar; Drummer Jan Kurtis
Jim grew up in a musical family and has always loved guitar.  Now, in addition to playing a lot of great guitar artists on the radio, he also plays and records his own music.

Jim Hilmar at the Mike
Frettin' Fingers is a show you never want to miss Saturday mornings at 11 a.m. on KSER.  But next Saturday, November 17, you'll want to make certain you catch a very special edition of Frettin' Fingers. Because that's when Jim Hilmar and his special guests celebrate 15 years of a Saturday Northwest radio tradition.

Congratulations Jim!  And thanks for 15 years of great radio!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Manager's Mailbox - Set your Clock Back Edition

There's leftover Halloween candy; campaign commercials are almost over; and remember to set your clocks back.  Because this weekend we get an extra hour of incoming email at the KSER Manager's mailbox!

Dear I've never stayed up to find out, but I've always wondered what radio stations do when the time changes back to standard time.  Do you just repeat an hour or KSER or what?  Mark, Mill Creek

Mark:  We browbeat another hour of work out of our DJ's. At 2 a.m. Sunday morning we just make the host of Under Currents work an extra hour while the rest of us are sleeping an extra hour.  It's a tough job, but we're there for the NW insomniacs.

Dear I don't live in the area, I listen online to KSER and my favorite show is Frettin' Fingers on Saturday. Great guitar music and that DJ, Jim, really knows his stuff. I've been listening every Saturday for almost 2 years. How long has he been at it?  Dave, Tampa, FL

Dave:  Jim Hilmar is about to celebrate 15 years of Frettin' Fingers on KSER.  Jim not only plays great guitar music on the radio, he plays great guitar for real.  In fact, he was a writer for Vintage Guitar magazine for 10 years. Jim brought his love for guitar and music to KSER in November of 1997.  And he's been at it ever with a great show every Saturday morning. He'll have a special 15th anniversary show on Saturday, November 17 at 11 a.m.

KSER's Jim Hilmar

Dear  I wasn't able to buy tickets to see Amy Goodman when she came to town last week.  Did you really sell out?  Do you know when she'll be back?  Rianna, Everett

Rianna:  We've invited her back.  But, as you can imagine, she has a busy schedule and is in demand. But keep listening, we'll let you know the next time she's coming to the Northwest.  Sorry, you weren't able to get tickets before they sold out.  We'll think about using a bigger auditorium next time.

Amy Goodman

Dear I want to thank KSER for providing great coverage early last week from both Democracy Now and from the Takeaway about the incredible storm that did so much damage on the East.  It was very moving and dramatic coverage. Thanks. Anna, Lake Stevens

Anna:  Thanks.  The staffs of Democracy Now and The Takeaway both did remarkable work in incredibly difficult circumstances. You can read about the personal ordeal the host of the Takeaway, John Hockenberry had to deal with...being evacuated from his own home. But he still was on the air every morning.  Amy Goodman was on the road, but her staff had to deal with the storm and arrange to actually have her broadcast via cell phone.  They did a great job.

Dear Is there a way to find out who has been nominated for your Voice of the Community this year?  Can anyone attend?  Mark, Mukilteo

Mark:  The entire list of nominees for the 2012 KSER Voice of the Community Awards Celebration is on our website at The event is next Saturday, November 10, 2012, 7 p.m. at Everett Station. And yes, anyone can attend. Tickets are just $10 and you can buy them here.

Dear  I love Friday nights on KSER.  The music is great. I really like Poptopia Parkway.  Keep up the great work.  Darren, Arlington

Darren: Thanks. Always a great way to start a weekend listening to Lon Palmer's Poptopia Parkway. Especially when you change the clocks and get an extra hour of sleep!.