KPCW Founder Blaire Feulner memorialized
A year after her untimely death, a plaque with the face and background of KPCW founder Blaire Feulner now graces the on-air studio following a commemoration last week.
For those coming into KPCW’s on air studio, there’s now the smiling profile of Blaire Feulner taken in front of ancient radio equipment, including 8-track cartridge players and a reel-to-reel machine that documented the weekday news interviews and a reminder to sign the logs, which was an FCC requirement back in the 1980s.
On Friday, December 1, with some 50 of her best friends, supporters, and members of the station’s current Board of Trustees watching, Feulner’s wife Susan, Blaire’s 95-year-old mom Shirley and long-time friend and colleague Myles Rademan unveiled the newly installed fiberglass plaque, titled “Creating the Community Campfire.”
“Those days, it was all about community - the community campfire idea, but it [the radio station] was really about the glue that would hold the community together,” Rademan said.
The plaque features a photo of Blaire taken shortly after the station signed on the air as well as an inscription that reads in part, “Blaire Feulner’s vision of a community radio station for Park City became a reality on July 2, 1980… and the station became the community campfire of the Park City area through the awkward transitions of the 1980s, the hyper-growth and Olympic planning of the 1990s and the new challenges of the 21st century.”
Tina Lewis was a member of the Park City Council in 1980 and was at the Car 19 restaurant on Main St. when the ceremonial wire was cut with Feulner declaring “KPCW, the station that Park City built,” was on the airwaves. Lewis says the new station was a welcome addition to town.
“Everyone was so excited because even though we had two newspapers at the time, still, there's a difference in reading a newspaper and in talking to someone,” Lewis said. “We all thought that this would be the glue that would hold the whole town together, we would all know what was going on.”
Tom Bock, a long-time radio personality in the Salt Lake Valley was one of the original team members who helped make the dream of creating a Park City station, a reality.
“It's been a slow calculated positive ascent to what's here today, and I couldn't be more proud,” Bock said.
Marianne Cone served a single term on the Park City Council [2003-07] and says the community fell in love with the station.
“The radio station started and there was this move - everyone was so excited,” Cone said. “Everybody stepped up and did something. It was really impressive. And Blaire's voice was wonderful; I think that had a lot to do with it. And [s]he had had the experience from other places. And Park City has this momentum for nonprofits, I think. And that may have been one of the very first where that people got behind it and said, ‘Wait a minute, this is a really good thing.’”
As a councilmember, Cone was instrumental in securing the space above the Swede Alley liquor store to be built-out for KPCW’s new studios as Park City officials looked to reclaim the bottom floor of the Marsac Building where KPCW had resided for 20 years.
Blaire’s wife Susan, who served as KPCW’s Development Director and later co-manager, was touched by the station’s effort to pay tribute to Blaire.
“I couldn't be more pleased,” Feulner said. “There were maybe 10 people in town who built it [the radio station]. And I think my darling Blaire was at the head of that group.”
Blaire retired from the station in 2008 after overseeing the construction of the new home for KPCW on Swede Alley. She had served as general manager and news anchor for 28 years. She debuted as a trans woman in 2015 and died in October 2022 at the age of 70 after suffering a stroke.