By Vanessa Houk: When I first began to get involved with KSKQ community radio I couldn’t have foreseen what community radio would grow to mean to me.

Why does community radio matter?

Left to my own devices and patterns, I would listen to rock music more than anything else. So when I first began to get involved with KSKQ community radio, I couldn't have foreseen what community radio would grow to mean to me. Originally, I think I had this notion that it would be mostly talk radio. I have since learned that it is so much more.

One of the most powerful by-products of Ashland's own community radio station has been an ongoing ability to reach out and connect with disenfranchised people. I think of the hours spent with a local homeless man, capturing some of his stories shortly before he died on the streets. My mind jumps to one of our longest running shows, "First Nation Radio," which is produced by local Native American friends. In the morning news hour, you can often hear snippets of "Prisoner Radio." There are young voices and elderly voices and everything in between.

Music choices jump all around the globe: world music (from Dakar to Durban), reggae, jazz, Latin, electronica and even a nod to the 1980s. Those are just a few examples of many that explore the myriad of voices we are listening to.

All of this creates a richness of exposure to new ideas and to new music, one that we would never be able to achieve individually. But when we work together and add our own passions and experiences to community radio we build a collective wealth. We learn from one another and leave with new ideas. Powerful stuff!

As KSKQ/KORV continues to grow and as we move toward full power (August 2010), we hope to continue to be a bridge for the Ashland community at large. We invite you to join us in our quest to be heard. We're listening, are you? Visit kskq.org or call 482-3999 to add your voice to this evolving organization.

Vanessa Houk

Ashland