For the first time in KBBI history, the radio station dedicated a section of their music library for long-time volunteer Randi Somers. During the Jan. 14 KBBI meeting, station manager Dave Anderson and local musician Atz Kilcher honored Somers for her 36 years of service to the station.
“Her dedication to the station, truly above and beyond. We’ve had a lot of wonderful volunteers over the years,” Anderson said. “She was probably involved in the station before we even signed on the air. So … that longevity and that dedication to the station make her easy to honor.”
Somers started at KBBI as the station’s first news director in 1979, when it was just getting on the airwaves. According to her daughter, Cristy Fry, Somers was one of the driving forces in getting the station going. After serving time in the paid position, she moved into volunteering in nearly every capacity possible — from the annual Concert on the Lawn, to staffing the front desk, and sitting in as a substitute DJ on Fry’s show, East of Adak. Somers took joy in putting on her many hats at the station for a variety of reasons.
“I always enjoyed doing the front desk for them because you get to meet so many interesting people who come into there,” she said. “I love the music section because you can go around and pick out great stuff.”
When she filled in on Fry’s show, she was known to play the Alaskana music she loved, along with selections from the other sections in the library.
“When I do the show, I do break it down into sections. I do a Homer section … and the music section is really perfectly broken down into local and western and jazz and triple A and country and folk,” Somers said.
Kilcher, also known as the patriarch on the reality show, “Alaska: The Last Frontier,” took part in the ceremony with a poem tribute to Somers and kind words for his friend and fan. Kilcher’s music often showed up in the Homer music section of Somers’ shows, and he fondly referred to Somers as his “number one fan.”
“I think she’s a good example of that old school volunteer … somebody that was willing to do anything, not for the money or the title but for the concept of getting the music out there, getting the news out there and having a service for this small town,” Kilcher said.
For Somers, such volunteering seems to have come naturally. KBBI is her baby, she said, and a vital part of her life. She said she hopes the Homer community will continue to support KBBI so her baby can live on into the future. For KBBI, Somers’ legacy will live on as more than just a plaque in a music section.
“Randi was one of those people that was always available if you needed help with anything and doing music shows on KBBI,” Anderson said. “It’s in her heart and in her soul, and she’s now in ours.”
Anna Frost can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In days of old, when Homer was still cold,
and KBBI was a’growin
A lady fair, with raven black hair,
said, “To Homer I’ll be goin’.”
It wasn’t long, after she came along,
that folks said, “Here’s a woman darn handy”
And so right here, began a long career,
of this volunteer called Randi
She’s done it all: spring, summer, winter, fall
With a smile as though she were playing
Ice, snow, mud, and rain, she handled the terrain
When other people’s nerves were fraying
Her many skills, fill a long bill
I’ve even heard she can overhaul a tranny
Swim moats, milk goats, run large fishing boats
This versatile woman called Randi
She has great musical taste, no Alaskan songs go to waste
With a fondness for the singer-songwriter
If anyone tried to take away, those songs she loves to play
I know they’d have to fight her
Sad sacks need to mope, dreamers need hope
A sweet tooth needs its candy
But this songwriting man, just needs his number one fan
This record-spinning, prize-winning woman called Randi.
— Atz Kilcher
Other KBBI News
Dave Anderson announced his retirement, which is planned for early April 2016. He will be recognized for his time at the station at a date to be announced.
Dave Eckward and Suzanne Bishop were re-elected to the KBBI board. Newly elected board members are Jenny Martin, Wayne Aderhold and Robert Purcell.
KBBI is partnering with community members in Nanwalek to produce Native word-of-the-week programming. Details will be announced later.
KBBI celebrated the purchase of two new audio consoles needed to update their broadcasting system. The consoles were funded by an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign supported by the Homer community, and grants from the Homer Foundation and the Rasmuson Foundation.
6 p.m. Feb. 10
Alice’s Champagne Palace
$10 per person
Proceeds benefit KBBI