NV89 offers a fresh approach on radio airways
May 1, 2017
Nevada Public Radio (NVPR) will make its first foray into northern Nevada with the launch of its new non-commercial radio station, NV89.
Touted as the "Discovery Music" channel and located at 89.1-FM frequency, NV89 will feature a mix of emerging and local Nevada artists along with established musicians in a variety of genres including alternative, rock, hip-hop and soul.
Veteran radio personality Willobee Carlan will serve as NV89's program director and operations manager as well as afternoon on-air host. Carlan said the commercial-free station is a unique approach in the local radio market.
"We'll be playing a lot of young, indie bands some established bands as well as some unsigned regional talent," Carlan said in a phone interview. "It's a fresh approach, something that Reno does not have right now."
“We’ll be playing a lot of young, indie bands some established bands as well as some unsigned regional talent. It’s a fresh approach, something that Reno does not have right now.”Willobee Carlan Veteran radio personality
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NVPR also acquired the rights to broadcast National Public Radio's (NPR) renowned "World Café" a Philadelphia-based platform that includes interviews and performances by up-and-coming musical artists. Carlan said the show, which has attracted a loyal following for 25 years now, should be an asset to NV89.
Other on-air hosts include Malayna Joy, (mornings); Jake Wagner, (evenings); and Gia DeSantis, (midday).
In addition to its music library, the station airs NVPR's news program, "State of Nevada," which delves into a gamut of relevant topics around the state, including politics and business.
OpenSky Radio Network previously owned the rights to the 89.1-FM radio frequency, but was interested in divesting the station from its portfolio.
Florence "Flo" Rogers, president and CEO of NVPR, added that if NVPR hadn't stepped up to the plate, the frequency might have just faded away for good.
"From the business lenses, opportunities like this don't come around very often," Rogers said in a phone interview. "But when they do, NVPR's organizational philosophy is to always look at those opportunities."
NVPR, an independent, nonprofit entity based in Las Vegas since its inception in 1975, had been interested in having a presence in northern Nevada for some time.
"Reno is playing such a larger role on the national level," she said.
NV89 will be situated at facilities in downtown Reno, although she declined to disclose the specific location at press time.
Meadows Bank assisted NVPR in the acquisition with a straight loan of $550,000.
"OpenSky made the offer to us for the license," Rogers said. "Meadows Bank really made this acquisition a possibility for us."
Rogers also indicated getting Carlan to head up NV89 was a real coup as well. NVPR had partnered with a consultant on the NV89, who suggested Carlan as the right person to get the station off the ground. In the meantime, Carlan had received multiple job offers in other markets, but when he was contacted regarding the NV89 post, he decided he couldn't pass it up.
"When the consultant called me, he said, 'We're starting this awesome new station here in Reno, and we've had you in mind for the position,'" Carlan said. "It's a perfect situation for me. Reno has been an amazing place to live."
Carlan had already worked in radio in other locations including New York, Texas, and Santa Barbara, Calif. He is a recipient of Billboard magazine's "Rock Personality of the Year." Since moving to Reno, he worked for Shamrock Communications' local affiliates.
Carlan is banking on the fresh format will attract disenfranchised listeners who may have grown tired of the traditional radio format.
"All I hope for is for listeners to give us a chance," he said.
NV89 can be streamed live at NV89.org or heard on a network of repeater stations in Nevada, Utah, Arizona and California.