About 10 years ago, a new radio station took to the air in Sequim.
KSQM was established in large part to be an emergency broadcaster. Its founder, Rick Perry, felt the area needed some way to receive information quickly in the event of an earthquake, power outage, or other emergency.
So he spent much of his own money to establish this 2,000-watt station.
What he ended up building was something much larger – maybe not in wattage, but certainly in heart.
KSQM is powered by volunteers from the community. The station is heard over the air in Sequim, and around the world via the internet. The station reports hearing from listeners in the United Kingdom, Australia and beyond.
Its volunteers take to the air each day, playing big band music, rock and roll, Latin music, and more. They do the news. They talk sports. They chronicle the lives and stories of veterans. They share community announcements.
Many of the volunteers say they’ve found a second family at the station. And many of the listeners seem to feel that way, too. Sequim’s population includes many retirees. And when the station took to the air Dec. 7, 2008, its programming resonated with that community.
“In the first month we got hundreds of letters,” program director Jeff Bankston said.
One of them was from a resident who signed the note “D. Beach.” It’s dated about two weeks after the station signed on. She told the station that her radio hadn’t been used much until she found KSQM, and that the music it aired offered a break from the worries of the day. She wrote:
The arthritic hands, knees and back, were all but gone … the loss of husbands, parents, and sometimes children, forgotten for a while. And best of all, we were reminded of something we really hadn’t forgotten – how contagious a happy heart, a hug and a smile can be. You – KSQM – are wonderful.
This story is part of our "KNKX Connects" series. The station is telling stories from throughout our listening area over the next several months. Join us June 7 from 3-6 p.m., for a special broadcast of All Things Considered, live from Port Angeles.