Photo by Paul Schlesinger
Paul Schlesinger | Reporter
With a cut of a ribbon, Valley Public Radio heralded the opening of its new broadcast center in Clovis on Sept. 21 and the opportunities it provides in expanding its award-winning coverage of the San Joaquin Valley.
Donors, government officials and community members gathered in front of KVPR-FM’s new 10,500-square-feet building at the Clovis Research and Technology Business Park to hear from representatives from the radio station talk about the new building’s impact on not just the station, but the Valley.
David Parker, chairman for KVPR, said it was an historic moment for a station that had a core mission to inform and inspire.
“This really is a historic occasion for the Central Valley and for all of us here today who have personally committed ourselves to the mission statement of Valley Public Radio: to expand our worlds through voices and sounds that inform us and inspire us by bridging artistic expression and diverse perspectives in our community,” Parker said.
Parker went on to say that despite how the increased use of the internet has shaped how we get our news and entertainment, that technology still hasn’t reached all of us.
He said that only 69 percent of the residents in the Fresno area use the internet, which is a result of an unemployment rate that’s as high as 20 percent. Preventing those residents from enriching their lives.
“So without you and without Valley Public Radio, they are declined access to some of the most essential things in a full life including news, entertainment, arts and culture, and the reality is some of us still enjoy our little terrestrial transistor radios,” Parker said.
Despite the small news staff, the public radio station has won five Golden Mic awards, something Parker says was an award relegated to Southern California for a number of years.
The new building allows for a continued expansion of KVPR’s news department and also allows interns the opportunity to gain experience in multimedia reporting.
A representative of state senator Tom Berryhill presented a proclamation to honor KVPR for the new broadcast center and the ribbon cutting.
Clovis mayor Nathan Magsig was also on hand, alongside the city manager and staff at the ceremony. Magsig spoke about what made projects like KVPR’s happen.
“What makes projects like this happen is our staff,” Magsig said. “You have the elected officials who can stand up and approve zoning, we could approve conditional-use permits, but at the end of the day, as the project moves forward, you have daily things that come up that need to be dealt with.”
“So I really want to congratulate right now, the engineering department with the City of Clovis, our planning department and our building department because they dealt with this project day in and day out,” he added.
Mariam Stepanian, president of KVPR, who has been with the public radio station for around 30 years, was amazed at how far the station has come.
“To be in this building, to be here today, is truly such an honor and a celebration,” Stephanian said.” “I didn’t realize how glorious it was until I started driving here.”
Stephanian highlighted the impact the public radio station has had in expanding not just coverage of the Valley to its residents, but also bringing the story of the region to a much wider audience.
“When other media entities pick up our stories and our reports and broadcasts them on different platforms, the country begins to learn about the San Joaquin Valley, and that is something that is amazing,” Stephanian said. “We are no longer the best kept secret and we are not that void between Los Angeles and San Francisco. There’s a lot happening here. We intend on sharing those stories and reports so that it benefits all of California.”