News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

Ken Cartwright honored for community service

KYAC FM General Manager Ken Cartwright received the Rod Winn Award for outstanding community service at the Mill City Lions Club’s Sweethearts Dinner on Feb. 11. 

The Rod Winn Award is presented annually at the Sweethearts Dinner. Winners of the award are  recognized for their outstanding service to the local community. 

Cartwright grew up on a farm near Shinglehouse, Penn., with his mother playing the piano and singing Bluegrass. She insisted her children learn some kind of musical instrument, which started Cartwright’s lifelong love of  music. 

Cartwright built his first radio station at the age of  13, before the FCC shut him down. At 17, he joined the Navy and served as a radio engineer. 

After opening his first music store in the late 1970s in Coos Bay, he moved to Salem. In Salem,  he remodeled buildings, ran music stores, and started a few radio stations.

In July 2013, Cartwright founded the local community radio  station, KYAC FM 90.1, which has been dubbed, “The Voice of the Santiam Canyon.” 

He hosts a radio show five days a week from 6 to 10 a.m. “Ken Till Ten” is simulcast with Salem’s KMUZ FM 88.5 and FM 100.7. 

KYAC is a non-profit, non-commercial FM station that serves the Santiam Canyon from milepost 11 to milepost 27 on Highway 22, and includes Mill City, Gates, Lyons, Mehama, North Fork, Elkhorn, Stayton and Sublimity.

Cartwright says he has worked more than 80  different jobs, plays a variety of musical instruments and is a tireless promoter of bluegrass music. 

Cartwright learned to build guitars in Mexico, and  continues to build and repair instruments today. He also conducts guitar-building classes. He posts regularly on Facebook and is well known for his near daily jokes. 

The namesake of the award, Rod Winn, passed away June 5, 2009, and is survived  by his wife Alexis. Winn was a long-time resident of Gates. He was a timber faller – following in the footsteps of his father, uncles, and grandfather. 

Winn was an active member of the Mill City Lions Club, where he presided as president, chaired Fourth of July pancake breakfasts and Sweethearts Dinners. He received the Helen Keller Benefactor Award the club reserves for its most influential members

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