Reading with Grammies
January 25th, 2017 by Cris Ellingson

The three grammies broadcast another episode of their popular radio program, “Read Along with Grammy,” at Ellensburg Community Radio in Ellensburg, Washington. Kath Frasier, far right, reads from a children’s book while Sandy Morris works the control board and Vicki Nelson rings the bell signifying it’s time to turn the page.

Ellensburg Community Radio’s storytelling trio aims to entertain and connect with families and community

Volunteer Sandy Morris reads a passage from a children’s classic into the microphone at Ellensburg Community Radio. She is one of the storytelling trio known as the “grammies.” Their program—“Read Along with Grammy”—is popular with ECR listeners.

The small but popular internet station is a community effort.

The station has a shoestring budget of about $120 a month, but station volunteer and board secretary Kath Frasier says it is the “official, but not official hometown to the world.”

Broadcasting via the internet not only keeps costs down, it helps avoid risks associated with using and maintaining a tower.

“We don’t have to worry about the tower,” says Ellensburg Community Radio Board President Mollie Edson, referring to towers required by typical AM/FM stations. No tower means avoiding the often high winds in the area. Kath heard about Kittitas County, Washington, while living in Australia. After working in the nursing field for many years, she decided to fulfill her dream to get a music degree at Central Washington University in Ellensburg.

“It wasn’t as easy going back to school in music as I thought it would be,” she says.

Kath, whose grandchildren live in Seattle, created the “Read Along with Grammy” program. She thought of the program as a way to keep in touch with her grandchildren, and to make sure they knew her voice.

“The radio show gets the kids used to our voices,” Kath says. “It started with one book, then another. I kept on reading and posting the book on Facebook ahead of time, so they can get one at the library to read along with. The bell rings when it is time to change the page.”

Kath is joined by two other grammies: Vicki Nelson and Sandy Morris, who has prior radio experience. All three grammies agree it would be great to have more readers—grandparents or not.

“The more the merrier,” Kath says.

She says there is no reason to be intimidated by the reading or equipment. Volunteers do not need a background in radio, or anything tech-related.

“Vicki and I came in and read books recently and were having a good time, as we always do,” Kath says. “We found out the show didn’t get out. We are sometimes neophytes in the techno world.

“If there are more readers, we can extend our on-air time and have better coverage while on vacation.”