Coast Community Radio’s music library — hundreds of CDs in hard plastic cases — fills shelves, turning one room into a sort of maze and stretching down the hall to a second room.
Janet Fryberger, the station’s new membership specialist and volunteer coordinator, started as a volunteer, digitizing CDs. It is a job she continues to perform, a job that could take — well, she tries not to think about how long it will take. It’s a daunting task, and many community radio stations are in a similar situation with their libraries, she said.
But the work, the day-to-day interactions with members and programmers, the tedious digitizing process, is just what Fryberger was looking for when she moved to Astoria two years ago.
“It’s like getting a job at Cheers,” she said. She believes the station “defines the city in a lot of ways” and she is thrilled to have such an active role in the community.
Born in Eugene, Fryberger moved to Astoria from Seattle. Though she has lived in numerous cities over the course of her life, she said, “I always felt a pull to Oregon.” Seattle began to feel foreign — no longer the place she’d loved in the 1980s — and she started to contemplate an escape. She’d driven through Astoria a number of times on her way to vacation in Oceanside, near Tillamook, but for a while she thought Hood River would become her next home. Those plans changed and, after some test visits, she made the leap to Astoria.
She brought a tech job with her, but she hoped to land a local job, perhaps in database management. The search proved to be harder than she’d expected. She landed at Coast Community Radio as a volunteer. When former membership specialist J.D. Wells announced he would be leaving the job for health reasons, Joanne Rideout, the former station manager who transitioned to a news director role in November, suddenly had an opening on the station’s small staff. Fryberger got the job.
“We take it quite seriously when we hire someone, because we are a small group and work closely together,” Rideout said. She considers Fryberger to be part of a “wonderful renaissance” at the station.
“(Fryberger) is smart, wise, efficient and full of new, great ideas,” Rideout said. “In the short time she’s been with us, she’s made great strides in raising revenue and strengthening connections to our members. But, best of all, she’s a delightful co-worker — a great person to spend time with. She’s a terrific addition to our team.”
For Fryberger, whose background includes diverse jobs in nonprofits, database management, bookstores, event production and tech, the station is the community hub she was looking for. And forget Hawaii, she says, Astoria is her paradise.