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Radio favorite draws crowds for benefit.

Byline: Jim Feehan The Register-Guard

Clutching her 6-month-old son, Lana Dishner of Springfield swayed to the rhythmic beat of Eugene band Kudana in the outfield grass of Civic Stadium on Sunday.

The venerable ballpark, home to the Eugene Emeralds during the summer, hosted "BeneFest," a musical fund-raiser for financially strapped Eugene public radio station KRVM.

Sitting on a blanket in left field, Dishner, her husband, Craig, 3-year-old daughter, Iris, and baby Kincade listened to the music and rubbed elbows with other KRVM fans.

"I love this radio station and I'm here to show my support," said Dishner.

The daylong musicfest attracted at least 1,000 people and raised about $10,000 for the radio station, which lost its funding base earlier this year when the Eugene School District decided it could no longer afford to underwrite it.

The first educational station in the Pacific Northwest and the 13th in the nation, KRVM hit the airwaves in 1947. Along with broadcasting an eclectic blend of music, the station's mission is to provide a training ground for students interested in broadcasting. The station trains about 130 students a year, including several from middle and elementary schools.

"What we really teach is confidence," said station manager Carl Sundberg. "We teach kids that they can succeed."

A number of Eugene area bands - from the Sugar Beets to the Klezmonauts to the Raventones - lent their support Sunday by playing for free, said Leigh Barrett, one of the organizers and host of the "Women in Music" and "New World" programs on KRVM.

"Six weeks ago we had a venue and a date and somehow it all came together," she said. "There's little wonder people get passionate about KRVM."

One of those passionate people is Jennifer Wyld of Springfield, who attended with her daughters, Malachite, 10, and Kira, 7. The youngest family member knew exactly why they showed up.

"We're here for the ice cream, the dancing and the balloon hats," said Kira.

In addition to those amenities, fans had a chance to participate in a silent auction featuring such items as a guitar autographed by Robert Cray, a Pretenders CD signed by all its band members, and a framed autographed photo of Joan Baez.

KRVM offers an "adult album alternative" format weekdays and broadcasts specialty shows evenings and weekends. The station has reduced its paid staff to 2 1/2 positions, so most of the program hosts are volunteers, Sundberg said.

The range of music includes folk, rock, soul, reggae, blues, Celtic, world music and country.

The station, at 91.9 FM, also carries Eugene School Board meetings.

"I like the wide variety and the fact that you can listen all day and not hear the same song repeated," said Dishner. "You can't say that about other radio stations in Eugene."

CAPTION(S):

Aaron Rheca (left) enjoys the beat of Kudana with girlfriend Rosie Cenname at Sunday's fund-raiser for KRVM at Civic Stadium.
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Title Annotation:Bands pitch in so that educational station KRVM can stay on the air; Entertainment
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Sep 15, 2003
Words:487
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