In the spring / summer of 2019, Sarah B. was voted Asheville FM’s Volunteer of the Quarter by her radio station peers …
… Eight decades later, in the year 2099, a few faded pages from an old journal were uncovered by new volunteers looking through Asheville FM’s dusty archives … this is what was written on those weathered journal pages so long ago …
(Sarah B. voiceover)
June 25, 2019 … Leicester, North Carolina, United States of America
Hello trusty journal, you wanted to know about my involvement with community radio, specifically Asheville FM and what it means to me, so during this brief respite I shall tell you …
I, Sarah B., started radio DJ’ing at KXCI in Tucson, Arizona, in 2012. I began as a music reviewer, then started subbing, and within a couple of months became the host of the Early Morning Music Mix on Thursdays. In 2013, I moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where no comparable community radio station existed. But luckily I was only there for a year.
I moved to Asheville in August of 2014 and within two weeks was attending my first Asheville FM meeting. My good friend Anthony told me about Asheville FM, which he knew about because he was a colleague of P Funk‘s. At that first meeting I acquired a couple of CDs to review and thereafter continued to review albums regularly, catching the attention of Ben Herring, who was the Music Director at the time, and Kim Roney, who was the Station Manager. By January of 2015 I had my own radio show, Songs for Friends, and was the Assistant Music Director to the wonderful Bill Donovan (and later I even did a short stint as Music Director myself).
My radio show Songs for Friends is named after the music mixes I’ve been making for my closest group of friends every year since 2005. I try to play songs that are mix-worthy, i.e. songs you’d like to hear again and again, with close attention paid to sequencing and segues. I approach DJ’ing much like driving a car, striving to give my listeners / passengers a smooth ride, not braking or speeding up too quickly. And of course, I want my audience to feel like they’re being introduced to new-to-them music by a near-and-dear friend.
Somewhere in there, I also started teaching DJ classes for Asheville FM, inspired by the classes I took at KXCI, and by my desire to give new volunteers more knowledge and confidence before going on the air. Whitney Shroyer has been my primary partner in this endeavor, both in designing the DJ class and in teaching it.
I started the Music Matters series in 2017, thanks in large part to the encouragement and participation of Doug Klesch (who’s since moved to Greensboro) and Erik Mattox, who were the first to give presentations. The fantastic Will Sibbald came up with the name Music Matters.
How did the Music Matters presentation lecture series program come about? In writing music reviews, I often find myself not knowing enough about music. What instrument is that? What style of guitar playing is that? What time period does that type of piano playing evoke? How would you describe that recording quality? What do you call that particular kind of drumbeat? Etc., etc. I knew that many of my fellow AFM DJ’s would probably have the answers to those questions and many others. So that’s how the idea for Music Matters came to me. We started the series in the conference room at the station, and I was soon approached by Revolve Studio, who have been our gracious hosts ever since (thanks again to P Funk).
What does the radio station mean to me? Asheville FM is how I feel connected to my community and how I stay in touch with the parts of myself that love music, writing, brainstorming, teaching, and connecting with people I would otherwise never know — a sad thought!
Is it important to me to play local Asheville music on my radio program? It’s important to me to play good music on my radio program; if that music happens to be local, that’s just icing on the cake. It feels good to support artists who might not get that support elsewhere. If I can play some small part in their success, I will have done meaningful work. Spinning local music is also a way to support local venues, many of which support Asheville FM through underwriting and other partnerships, which appeals to my appreciation for symbiotic relationships.
What advice would I give to new volunteers and people wanting to volunteer? Give it a try! If your love is strong enough, you’ll reap countless rewards from volunteering at AFM. But that love is essential.
I’m endlessly amazed by Asheville FM, by which I mean the people — all the people throughout the years since its inception — who comprise this radio station. AFM is love, pure and simple. All the volunteers who’ve contributed to its survival have done so because they love, and because AFM provides them with a platform from which they can express their truest selves. I wish society at large could model itself after this radio station. The world would be a much better place if it did.
I also just want to say thank you to some folks I haven’t mentioned yet: KP Whaley, Jess Speer, Greg Lyon, Greg and Esther Cartwright, Kama Ward, Steven Howard, Tasha Glenn, Carla Musgrove, Jonathan Price, Jay and Juliet Clawson, Avel Veeta, Emma Hutchens, and Cousin TL. And special thanks to DJ //////// (page is torn and gone, the rest of Sarah B.’s journal entry lost to the ages) ~
but That Was Then, This Is Now:
(Anthony Michael Hall voice-over)
(In addition to her involvement with Asheville FM, Sarah B. continues to build her psychotherapy counseling practice. That line of work, she says, has also influenced her approach to interviewing musicians on her radio show, Songs For Friends, Monday, 4-6 pm …
… anyhow, for what she has done and continues to do for our community radio station, a huge thank you, Sarah B., from all of us at Asheville FM 🙂