KRBD-FM community radio’s membership meeting and potluck was well-attended Saturday evening. The annual awards were augmented by a ceremony dedicating the station’s air room to one of KRBD’s founders, Tom Miller, who died this spring.
KRBD Board Member Joann Flora presided over the dedication ceremony. She said there was a group of dedicated people who made the idea of a Ketchikan community radio station into a reality.
“Among them all, Tom Miller’s dedication to KRBD provided a major contribution to what the station has become today,” she said. “In addition to being one of our founding fathers, he was a daily director and responsible for the station’s broadcast in the days before we had paid staff; he served on the board both as its president and as a director; Tom was an on-air volunteer, he was a program manager and oversaw the station’s output; he did live radio theater; he was funny as hell, smart as a whip and serious about this station. He was the first voice ever to be heard on KRBD. Recognizing Tom for what he did and what he meant to KRBD is long overdue.”
Miller’s wife, Terry Miller, attended the ceremony, and talked about Tom Miller’s contribution to the station.
“He had that dream of, ‘Let’s do our radio. Let’s tell what it’s like here. Let’s hear our sounds. Let’s not tell Anchorage and Juneau’s story. Let’s do community radio, not just public radio, community radio; share our music, share our knowledge of music, tell our story,’” she said. “That was his dream, and how cool is it that this came true?”
Also Saturday, KRBD gave the annual Diamond Award to the City of Ketchikan for the city’s willingness to work with station while constructing and paving the road that runs between KRBD and the new Ketchikan Public Library. KRBD General Manager Deb Turnbull said she appreciates the city’s cooperation.
“When there’s a lot of construction around you, and there’s a lot of equipment and a lot of people, it can be sometimes unpleasant,” she said. “We had the most pleasant experience with all of this this year.”
The Business of the Year was Alaska Fish House, owned by Chuck Slagle. He donated a percentage of sales from his business to various nonprofit groups, including KRBD, throughout the summer. Slagle said he didn’t know he was getting an award.
“I was told I had to come to bring salmon,” he said.
Turnbull announced that the Volunteer of the Year was Victoria Merritt, who records the weekly KRBD Prince of Wales Island report.
“You hear her every Friday at 10 minutes, 15 minutes to 9 a.m., and it is Victoria Merritt, and we are thrilled,” Turnbull said. “We were trying to figure out how long she’s been doing this. And we thought, since the 80s? We don’t know. Victoria’s been doing it a long time. And she’s over there on her lonesome, so it’s a stunning effort on her part to make sure that there’s a voice coming from those communities on Prince of Wales Island, every week, without fail. It’s absolutely wonderful.”
The Listeners’ Choice award went once again to Willie’s Mixed Bag, which airs 2 p.m. every Tuesday. Turnbull presented the award to the volunteer host, Willie Smith.
“You all voted. And you voted well,” she said. “And it was close. It was really close for a number of shows. But I’m happy to say that Willie’s Mixed Bag, for the second year in a row, was our Listeners’ Choice.”
KRBD hosts an annual membership and awards meeting every year in September.