KXCR 90.7FM: Community Radio Tended by Invisible Hands

Larry Bloomfield and Board President, Maggie Bagon accept grant from Western Lane Foundation

It’s early when Larry Bloomfield turns his key in the door of the KXCR studio, beginning what he knows might be a 60-hour week. Both Program Director and Station Manager, his schedule is full.

Programs require final touches—music edits and narration.  Podcasts must come in and go on at prescribed times.  FCC required paperwork is due, and, that evening, there is a Board meeting for which he must prepare.

Maggie Bagon, Board President, is organizing new fundraising and outreach initiatives, efforts that she believes, given our current political situation, are now more important than ever.  In her 7 years with the station, she has produced stories about people without permanent housing, about musicians and activists and has encouraged others with her passion for community radio.

“When I moved to Florence and found out our little town was starting a community radio station,” she writes, “I knew I had to get involved.”  

Maggie Bagon, President, KXCR Board of Directors

But first, Larry must set up for “G,” Garth Butler.  A relatively new volunteer and a Board member, Garth, in January, brought streaming to KXCR.  Today, this army combat veteran who trained military telecommunications personnel in computer networking will handle some programming upgrades for the station before working on his own weekly reggae program Flo-town and, then later, joining Larry at tonight’s meeting.

“He hooked us up…and, bam, our station went from the small population that we served for four years to streaming to the world.”

Larry Bloomfield about KXCR Board Member Garth Butler

“G’s” work releases Larry to check the station’s website, a website maintained by Joanna Henderson.  Most often now, Joanna, 76, works from home; but she and her husband Stu, who recently retired at 80 years old, have contributed their time and expertise to KXCR since 2007 during those first years of getting on air.  In 2015, the station’s website was created by their son.  Like Maggie, Joanna is an advocate for increased, regular fundraising events and efforts that might attract young people.

“It seemed almost miraculous that [Florence} was given a full-power station license to operate on our own terms.  This is not something to be squandered.”   

Joanna Henderson, volunteer and web master

At day’s end, before heading to his meeting, Larry checks for any last minute tasks, tasks he may have missed that require his touch.  He concedes that, when he started as Program Director a year and half ago, he “didn’t realize quite what he was getting himself into.”  But, inspired by the work of his predecessor Richard Koehler, he says, “I’m here whatever it takes.”

Raised on radio, these efforts are, Larry says, “in my background and in my blood.”  As a young boy, Larry watched and assisted as his father founded KBET 1220 AM in southern California.  “I was out doing field strength readings as a young kid in a four-by, going out into the mountains.  It was the best thing in the whole world for me.”

Florence is a small town, with a population of about 9,000.  On May 9, 2019, KXCR celebrated its fifth anniversary, a success that, of course, stands as tribute to the station’s programming but that must also be credited to the tireless work of these “invisible” hands, volunteers whose work is done off-air and behind the scenes and who power community radio.

Would your station like to feature its own story of invisible volunteers? Contact melissa@pacifica.org