KSQM picks Claire for interim director

Laraine Claire, the interim executive director at KSQM 91.5 FM, heard her father’s signals loud and clear.

Laraine Claire, the interim executive director at KSQM 91.5 FM, heard her father’s signals loud and clear.

As avid fans of the station, Robert and Deonne Hansen would play KSQM in their car and home 24/7, Claire said.

Prior to his death last summer, Claire’s father asked her to volunteer at the station and less than a year later she’s helping send the station worldwide.

“Everything in my life has come together for this,” Claire said. “My background in music and marketing are perfect for this. I wake up excited every day.”

Claire, a stalwart in the music business for 30-plus years, follows former Executive Director Bob Schilling. He began as a volunteer in February 2012 as project manager for KSQM’s “Our First Fed Tower” and the adjacent John Wayne Memorial Transmission Facility, which helps send the station’s music as far as Bellingham and Victoria, B.C.

Lynda Perry, KSQM board president, said Schilling wanted to spend more time with his family and to develop other business interests.

Since Claire began, KSQM program director Jeff Bankston said she’s done remarkable things.

“The volunteers just love her,” he said.

Claire, a native Californian, holds a Bachelors of Music from the USC Conservatory and has worked in multiple areas in the music industry, including publishing music for the entertainment business.

She came to Sequim in 1999 following her parents with her family of two boys, two girls, two step-daughters and two foster children.

In 2010, she moved back to California to support her sons Wesley and Keaton Stromberg, members of pop-rock band Emblem3.

“They had gotten enough exposure that we had to pursue their music,” she said.

For a few years, Claire helped promote her sons’ band and helped form the nonprofit Team Inspire Project and served as chairman of the board.

In July 2014, she moved back to Sequim to fix up her rental home and decided to stay.

Of the 75 volunteers at KSQM, Claire holds the only paid position.

She said part of her vision for KSQM includes reinstating a school report, starting a fine arts report with interviews with local musicians and artists, recognizing volunteers once a month and engaging the community more.

Claire said she’s started surveying community members and found “there are still a lot of people who don’t know who we are and what we are doing here. I want people to know this is their radio station. It belongs to you. What would you like to hear?” she said.

To increase outreach, Claire has become more active online with the station and she intends to partner with the City of Sequim and Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce to brand Sequim more.

Bankston said while Claire is in an interim position, she will definitely be a candidate considered for the position in the coming months.

Claire said she’s already seen how far the station’s reach can go. Recently a couple from Wasilla, Alaska, were visiting Seattle and they drove to Sequim to make a donation and see the people they’ve been listening to online, she said.

In addition to Claire, Cindy Boller, wife of KSQM announcer Tom Boller who is heard 6-9 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays, is the new volunteer coordinator.

KSQM, 577 W. Washington St., is a full power non-commercial service of Sequim Community Broadcasting, a 501(c)3 nonprofit and charitable organization. On April 25, it’ll hold a Habitat for Humanity Donation Drive and “An Affair to Remember” Benefit Dinner on May 23.

For more information, call 681-0000 or listen at 91.5 FM or online at ksqmfm.com.


Reach reporter Matthew Nash at mnash@sequimgazette.com.