Nan Rubin moved to Las Cruces to retire six years ago. Not even settled in, the first week here, she got a call from a local group wanting to file an application for a community radio station. An opening had come up with the FCC, and the application had to be filed fast and while the Southwest Environmental Center knew it would be important to the area, they had no experience with radio. Rubin, on the other hand, had a lifetime of experience.
Rubin’s background is in community broadcasting. She started two radio stations from scratch, one in Cincinnati and one in Denver. This was what she does, so – she did it.
So, a community of people, including Rubin, with the vision of a radio station addressing local issues, playing local music and talking about local events, made it happen and KTAL became a reality, hitting the airwaves a little more than two years ago. Rubin has been not only an organizer from the beginning but has been and is still on the board.
“I have only been doing this for 50 years because I love it,” she said. “I have seen the transporting power of community media in a lot of places. It can be a major political and cultural driving force. I have seen stations that have taken on campaigns on things like mental health issues have had a big impact.”
When she was here long enough to understand the dynamics, economic base and size of the community, Rubin said she really thought this was a good place to put a community radio station on the air. There is a public radio station already, KRWG, but KTAL is a very different kind of service, she said.
“I’ve seen a lot of projects come and go,” she said. “I can honestly say this has been one of the best projects I have worked on.”
In the mornings, from 6 to 10 a.m. Rubin said, KTAL focuses on having a live Las Cruces morning block featuring live local community affairs programs.
A recent edition of Peter Goodman and Walt Rubel’s show, “Speak Up, Las Cruces,” had a huge positive community response, she said. They had almost all the current Las Cruces mayoral candidates on at the same time.
“We got a letter from someone who has been listening and who told us how informative and really well done that show was,” she said.
“Speak Up, Las Cruces,” and all the other KTAL programming can be heard on line at lccommunityradio.org as well at 101.5 on the radio station. Archived shows, like the mayoral one, are also available.
Everyone working at the station is a volunteer, Rubin said.
“None of us get paid and I think they sound as good as any other professionals in the industry,” she said. “To me it’s a lot of fun, this is really a lot of fun.”
Linda Hall is a KTAL board member, programmer, communications coordinator, chairman of the PAC (Program advisory committee), event planner for most of the special events and program host under the handle of NOLA Girl. Her program is called “Shades of Blue,” airing Wednesdays, 7 to 9 p.m., and it’s about music – the blues, of course.
She said they think the station reaches about 150,000 residents on the air now.
“We have local deejays,” she said. “We have a lot of local programs and people can submit a proposal for a program idea to us. They can go on the website and fill out a proposal.”
Hall said the station is celebrating its two years on air with a fantastic fundraising event — “The Roadrunner Review.” The event will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 17 at the Rio Grande Theater in downtown Las Cruces.
“We have six wonderful acts,” she said. “Several of them are deejays on the radio station, including some great entertainers from the area.”
The show, emceed by Las Cruces Bulletin Publisher Richard Coltharp, will feature KTAL radio hosts and performers, including music by CW Ayon, Gene Keller, Teresa Tudury, Doug Adamz, Chris Sanders and The Cosmic Troubadours.
Also, Hall said, the Doña Ana Community College Culinary and Hospitality Occupation Professionals (C.H.O.P.) program will be catering the event.
“We will have a small silent auction,” she said. “Oh my gosh – there is so much generosity in this area. This will be fun and profitable for anyone able to bid and get some of our wonderful donations.”
Hall rattled off just a few of the programs that will be able to continue with the help of money coming in from this fundraiser. They include “Just Community” with Carrie Bachman; “Earth Matters,” with Kevin Bixby, a program shared with Silver City community station KURU; “Café con Leche,” with Rubin; “All About Books,” with Lynn Moorer and many, many more.
Daytime shows are talk based, she said. After 7 p.m. the programs are music based.
“The idea is that we support local issues and we really want to concentrate on the community,” Hall said. “Whatever benefits the community, that’s what we are here for.”