“Dead air”

Tuesday October 24, 2023
From the messy desk of Amanda Eichstaedt

Oh No!

First off, THANK YOU to everyone who has contributed to the KWMR Pledge Drive so far. Give yourself a big ol’ hug from us. Ok, back to the story of “Oh No!”

On Sunday evening KWMR experienced “dead air.” Dead air is an unintended period of silence that interrupts a broadcast during which no audio program material is transmitted. And dead air can happen for many reasons. Some of the most popular occasions for dead air occur when someone doesn’t raise their fader to turn on their microphone. They can be talking away and no sound is coming out. When a music track ends and another one is not cued up can be cause for dead air. Or if someone falls asleep in the broadcast booth, that could cause dead air. You get the idea.

KWMR’s dead air was resolved today during “The KWMR Sports Hour” at around 12:20 PM. Therefore “In the Coastal Garden,”“Turning Pages at Nature’s Pace,”“A Cuppa Joe,”“The Farm and Foodshed Report,”“Cruisin’,”“Encuentro Latino,”“Monday Mix,”“Sessions from Chicken Point,”“Night Beat with Ananda,”“Rise Up and Shine,”“Airwaves,”“Turning Pages, Reading to John,” also did not go out on 92.3 or 90.5 FM. Mind you, Bolinas (89.9 FM) stayed going strong the entire time. Each of these shows deserve some special love since they were not fully broadcast. And yes, the archives should be there so you can listen to the show.

You are wondering, how in the world did this happen? 

It was a dark and stormy night. Well, things came to a head on the dark and stormy night (Sunday 10/22)), but some construction activity a few weeks ago resulted in our antenna sustaining some damage. KWMR got a crew of professionals up straighten things out, and the whole time we remained on the air, even when crooked. But after some decent precipitation, something went awry. Richard Dillman drove up and checked things out on Mt. Vision and decided that it was dead “in the water,” so to speak. 

Adam from AJM General using his skills to remove KWMR’s damaged antenna.  photo: J. Mohri

We are still figuring out exactly what the problem is, but this morning Richard Dillman and James Mohri returned to the transmitter site with a crew to remove the very large antenna and replace it with our original antenna that had done some duty at Mt. Barnabe, but had been retuned to fit the bill while our rockstar antenna gets repaired. 

So long story long, we are BACK ON THE AIR! And my hat goes off to Richard Dillman, we would have been off the air for a LOT longer without his diligence, expertise, professional relationships, diagnostic abilities, and his complete obsession with all things “radio.” We are so lucky to have him as our Transmitter Wrangler. And another hat off to James Mohri, and AJM General for being at the ready and available to do the work so quickly.

Because frankly, I think I might have gotten carpel tunnel syndrome if I had to cut and paste more unbroadcasted shows during our Pledge Drive

And we got a few calls during the outage from folks who thought their radio was malfunctioning. Nope. It really was “It’s not you, it’s US!” We are so grateful to have our airwaves functioning again.

And since we are more than 64.2% through our Fall Pledge Drive and only 50% of the funds have been raised so far, we could use some assistance. As you can see by reading the above, we are well equipped to run a radio station, and handle the many aspects that it takes to do so. Transmitters, broadcast equipment, internet connectivity, microphones, lovely and talented volunteers, and all of the administrative activities to support the above. Where you come in is helping us reach our strategic fundraising goals. Our Development Director, Alyssa Tanner has busted her butt to create this drive, and Mia Johnson, our Digital Communication Director is making it look good and keeping y’all informed! Thank you also, to Program Director Jeff Manson for all his great work.

Pledge Drives account for about 25% of the funds required to keep things going. I really don’t think people should donate money to things that are not relevant to them in any way. So if KWMR is relevant to you in any way, please pitch in. Last week 1655 people “opened” this newsletter. We need to raise $25,000 by Sunday at midnight to reach the $50,000 goal. If each of those 1655 each donated just $15 we would make our goal. Let’s be realistic about this, not everyone will (and some already have!). So, a mere $25 by 1000 of you would seal the deal. And if you are feeling generous, then by all means, donate what you can.

And a HUGE thank you to our Calendar Club members (see below). Without their sustaining donations we would really struggle. Many revenue streams help to pay the bills, the payroll, the rent, utilities, and the umpteen subscriptions required for the services that all put together bring you, KWMR, West Marin Community Radio.


Thank you for your support, in advance. 

Amanda Eichstaedt
Station Manager/Executive Director

p.s. Not mentioned above is Ian McMurray, who holds down the IT Desk, he and his wife Dusty also hosted a program on Monday night before we experienced dead air. If you missed it, you can check out the archives HERE, and see how many hats this guy wears!

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