Dear Editor, I would like to correct the record concerning the recent news release about the City of San Marcos’ new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Low Power FM (LPFM) Radio Permit and give y’all a little bit of history on the issue as well as make a suggestion on the matter.
The first thing I need to correct was San Marcos Spokesman Ken Bell saying that there is no commercial radio station in San Marcos. I can understand his ignorance because the San Marcos FCC Commercial Radio Permit is held by 103.5 BOB-FM and Bob is an absentee landlord who talks at our community not with us. Unfortunately, Bob is more concerned with his image and Austin advertising dollars rather than the state of the San Marcos River.
That is one of the reasons that in March, 1997, the Hays County Guardian reclaimed the LPFM airwaves for the benefit of the citizens of San Marcos and ran a non-commercial, bilingual, public access community radio station relying on donations and volunteers to broadcast 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with a new show starting every two hours for 3 1/2 years.
The mission of Kind Radio was to defend the liberty of San Marcos residents by providing local community access to speech about matters of the highest public concern, political and economic reform, cultural and historical perspectives and information about local and international environmental issues.
The second correction I need to make is the City’s claim to have applied for the permit in 1999. That would have been impossible because the FCC only accepted LPFM applications from Texas between June 11-15, 2001. During that week the City was joined by the Hays County Guardian, Earth First! Texas State (SWT at the time) Federation, Nosotros La Gente, Dave Newman, and a kid from Wimberley who’s name I can’t remember right now in filing applications seeking the San Marcos LPFM permit.
I found it ironic that Mr. Bell came up with the bright idea of an emergency radio station during the 1998 flood because for thousands of San Marcians that flood crystallized the arguments in favor of LPFM.
I would also like to note for Mr. Bell that even though no radio station with commercials like KTSW and BOB-FM helped out in the flood, there was fortunately non-commercial Kind Radio operating to provide a lifeline to those stranded and a way for families to account for each other. For hour after hour citizens called Kind Radio through the night and days that followed to share information regarding the conditions in their area, alert emergency personnel to people who needed to be rescued, report road and school closings, shelter locations, phone numbers for emergency and disaster relief agencies, and to share the tale of the “floating pumpkins.”
That San Marcians were able to share a little bit of comical relief even in the most distressing of times showed the true heart and character of our community.
The reason Kind was so effective during the flood was because the community had become accustomed to tuning in regularly to find out what was going on that day socially, culturally and politically, so for many San Marcians when the flood hit and they turned on the radio, Kind Radio was already tuned in.
Kind Radio allowed our community to talk to each other during good times as well as bad and allowed the diverse segments of our community to share their experiences and argue over their differences of opinion in an open forum without time constraints. We were also blessed to be exposed to the immense wealth of talent which resides in our neighbors and we all take for granted.
From live musical performances by Blue October, Shelly King and Ray Wiley Hubbard to Heads Up! news alerts, ravings from “the Rock” with Pappy, children’s tales of Bones, rhyming and Rolling with Dough, amazing prophesies of Captain Conspiracy, cautionary tales of Ripple and Colonel Forbin, acerbic ranting of the Village Idiot, musica exotica del mundo, even the expletive deleted on Jodi’s World, I could go on and on to most importantly live open phone interviews with candidates for public office, Kind Radio expressed the passions of our community without commercial interruption.
Can anyone who heard it live forget the “Greatest Mayoral Debate of the 20th Century”?
I believe that the thousands of people who fought for the right to broadcast on LPFM in San Marcos should be respected and represented.
I request that the City set up a Radio Board to coordinate public access programming. The Board should consist of one representative from each group which competed with the City for the LPFM permit, the Hays County Guardian, Nosotros La Gente, Earth First! Texas State Federation and Dave Newman and one member appointed by the Mayor and each City Councilman. If that kid from Wimberley is still around and interested he should get a seat on the Board too.
While the City decides the type of radio station San Marcians will have , please don’t be like Bob. Be Kind.
Yours in Free Speech,
Joe PtakEmail | Print