Kevin Bowman of KRYZ-LP in Mariposa spoke before an overflowing crowd Saturday morning at the November meeting of our Oakhurst Democratic Club. He spread the gospel of Low Power FM.
As outlined in last week’s column, the Federal Communication Commission licenses “Low Power FM” stations to provide small communities such as Oakhurst with local radio programming otherwise unavailable.
Such service offers area clubs, churches, schools, educational forums and other non-profit organizations a volunteer supported opportunity to discuss issues, promote events, and otherwise exchange thoughts and ideas on an interactive, participatory basis.
While KRYZ-LP is operating at 98.5 FM in Mariposa, this same public frequency was clandestinely licensed to Oakhurst on July 13, 2015 by a thus far phantom group calling itself “Radio Catholic” and headed by one Father Daniel White of Los Angeles. Although the FCC-approved call letters of KOLS-LP are said to stand for “Our Lady of the Sierra,” initial investigation determined that the Diocese did not authorize the project and knew little about it.
Father Joel did report that Father White “though not assigned to our Lady of the Sierra Catholic Church, is a priest from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles who has his own residence close to the Bass Lake Area. He made mention to me about the beginnings of a Catholic Radio Station here a year ago to broadcast Church events and the like. This was all of his own initiative.”
After discovering KOLS-LP’s existence, I examined its FCC application in September and wrote to Father White at his residence in Winnetka - a Los Angeles suburb. Congratulating him on obtaining the license, I explained that the Oakhurst Democratic Club had scheduled a meeting on “Community Radio” for Nov. 7, and invited him and his group to take part. This was to specifically share with us his pledged intentions of providing local programming to the people of Oakhurst, such being a critical requirement in being granted FCC permission to broadcast.
In subsequent communication, Father White agreed to do so.
Having had no further contact after three weeks, I sent him a note on Oct. 19, repeating my request.
He has yet to acquiesce.
100% of current KOLS-LP airtime is exclusively a rebroadcast of national EWTN programming out of Birmingham, Alabama -- this already easily accessible in Oakhurst on Sirius/XM Radio, both Dish and Direct Satellite TV, and via the Internet.
Founded by 92 year-old Franciscan nun Mother Mary Angelica, EWTN is the largest religious media network in the world, reaching over 230 million television households in more than 140 countries and territories.
Although there would appear to be obvious infirmities in Father White’s KOLS-LP application formally submitted to the Commission as well as demonstrable deficiency in “Radio Catholic” conduct since receiving approval, I have extended to Father White one final chance at redemption.
Unless he signals appropriate penance and agrees to provide meaningful opportunity for local programming origination and adequate studio facilities in Oakhurst to facilitate production of same (another Federal requirement) – a formal complaint will be filed with the Commission demanding sanction, fines and other available remedies, including license revocation.
We need “Community Radio” in Oakhurst to be truly “Catholic” in nature, a word defined in Webster’s as being “of general scope or value; all-inclusive; broad in sympathy, tastes and understanding.”
That means for all people, parties, pursuits and persuasions.
As in – democracy.