Peter Cavanaugh

Community Radio

Once upon a time, there was no TV.

This was roughly from the dawn of man to the late 40s, when the wonder of televised black and white images accompanied by FM sound was introduced into living rooms across America.

In my hometown of Syracuse, an RCA 8TR29 with a 10-inch screen sold for $948.00 in 1948 - the equivalent of $9,524 in today’s dollars - big bucks back then. Our family had to wait a bit for our first set. So it was that I grew up with radio alone as my primary gateway to the world.

Even this technology was then still relatively new. The first federally licensed radio station, KDKA in Pittsburgh, signed on the air 95 years ago this very week on Nov. 2, 1920.

By 1941 (when I was born), there were countless receivers coast to coast tuned each week to local variety programs, news, sports, and commentary. Audiences were riveted to the networks for such classics as Lux Radio Theater, Amos & Andy, Jack Benny, The Lone Ranger, Bob Hope and dozens more, but it was the local connection that truly bound us together.

Even after television revolutionized our culture turning listeners into viewers by the millions - local radio still featured fully-staffed news departments monitoring police, fire and weather radios, reporting important nearby events, tracking local politics and covering municipal court houses well into the 60s. If it happened down the street, you’d hear about it in minutes.

Then all that was gone, primarily since replaced by nationally syndicated conservative talk on the AM band and computer-driven, consultancy programmed music stations on the FM side with most becoming little more than 50,000 watt iPods. For broadcast communication, the new global village had become a lonely old town.

But in 2000, a wonderful thing happened. To address a critical need for local program origination, the Federal Communication Commission created Low Power FM radio service, authorized for noncommercial educational broadcasting. With an effective radiated power of 100 watts, “Community Radio” would cover approximately a 3.5-mile radius, not enough to serve a territory, but certainly a town or two.

This Saturday morning, I hope you’ll join us for the November meeting of the Oakhurst Democratic Club at Denny’s when Kevin Bowman of KRYZ-LP in Mariposa tells us all there is to know about our adjacent county’s “Community Radio.”

KRYZ-LP features prominent club events, significant regional issues, local news, extended interviews, wide reaching panel discussions and emergency broadcast programming.

Kevin reports that volunteer operated KRYZ-LP is designed to engage Mariposa citizens with a station dedicated to being a participatory medium in which hometown listeners can be an important part of a vibrant, interactive radio experience.

Current local programming features Jon Youngblood with “Mariposa Town Talks,” “Easy on the Ears” is guided by Ron Judice, Michelle Marcell gets “Curious and Curiouser,” Chris Adcock visits the “Haunted Steakhouse,” Stephanie Means brings us “Fire in The Head,” Eve Elder tames “The Musical Managerie,”while Saturday’s speaker at Denny’s, Kevin Bowman, brings listeners both “Public House” and the Irish flavored “Slainte” with Trudy Williams.

You can find KRYZ-LP on the Internet at KRYZRadio.org or 98.5 on the FM dial, but not on your Oakhurst radios for two reasons.

First, there are some serious signal blocking ridges between here and Mariposa. Secondly, there seems to be - a possible interloper in our midst.

With absolutely no local content featured and efforts made to avoid publicizing its existence, KOLS-LP has occupied 98.5 FM, licensed to Oakhurst, since July of this year. Operated by “Radio Catholic” and exclusively featuring programming from the EWTN Catholic Radio Network, the KOLS-LP call letters stand for “Our Lady of the Sierra.”

Intriguingly, Father Joel Davadilla, Pastor of Our Lady of the Sierra, did not authorize the project and doesn’t know much about it.

I’m sure we’ll have much more to share at our Saturday meeting.

Community Radio - KOLS - “Keep Oakhurst Locally Served.”

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