Easy Listening Comes To Rim Radio

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There's a new sound in the air -- easy listening music from 98.5 FM KCMA LP.

Owners Chris and Tom Spencer, along with Cindy and Andy Kofile, are labeling the low-power public radio station, "The Cool Mountain Alternative."

The 24-hour station began broadcasting Nov. 20, 2003. The music is from the 60s, 70s and 80s, plus some contemporary pieces are in the mix. The plan is to offer upbeat music during the day and more relaxing sounds in the evening.

Don't expect a lot of chitchat. For now, the broadcasts are automated, but in the future, the station will have pre-recorded local programs, including educational information and town happenings, as well as news.

"It will take planning. It will be real local. We want it done properly," Andy, the station manager, said.

It will also be broadcasting emergency news and weather, as well as amber alerts for missing children as the need arises. KCMA will be working closely with the police and sheriff's office, and the Forest Service to provide public service announcements to listeners.

KCMA, a nonprofit, listener-supported radio station, will be community-minded, Cindy, public relations director, said.

The Spencers have been very involved in the community since moving here from Alaska seven years ago.

"We have volunteered with the Time Out Shelter, Diamond Star Fire Department Auxiliary, Tonto Community Concert Association, Payson Community Kids and United Methodist Church," Chris said. "We have participated in volunteer mission trips to Guatemala, Mexico, and the Navajo Indian Reservation. Community and volunteering is very important to us. Since this is a nonprofit organization, we choose to return to the community 10 percent of all sponsorship donations received. Qualifying local nonprofit charities will benefit."

Chris is serving as the secretary-treasurer for KCMA. Her background is in administration and financial matters. She is also familiar with writing for broadcast.

The philanthropic philosophy is especially important to KCMA President Tom Spencer.

"I personally have received a lot of success and recognition in my professional life," he said. "I would like to give support back to the community in return. Actions speak louder than words, that is why I see KCMA as an opportunity to give an alternative to our community and to the great people that live in this beautiful part of Arizona.

Getting KCMA off the ground, the foursome has taken a few bumps along the way. They started on a shoestring budget, setting up in a cabinet next to a vacuum cleaner. They have had some trouble getting the Christmas carols out of the mix -- listeners were still hearing holiday tunes as late as this month -- but it actually worked out well. When people called and asked why they were still playing the carols, it let them know they had people listening.

The Christmas music is going away, along with some of the other programming, Andy said.

"We wanted to bring the community something it doesn't have," Tom said. "We're not pushing commercials. We're not trying to be in competition with anyone. It will be a win-win for everyone. It is a community station."

Anyone interested in supporting KCMA's efforts through monthly sponsorships can call the station between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday at (928) 468-5262.

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