San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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July 24th, 2008
Letter to the Editor

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 Ptak

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0 thoughts on “Letter to the Editor

  1. While some may disagree with Joe I got to say that he speaks the truth. KIND Radio was the true local voice of San Marcos. As I recall it was run out of Joes garage with various folk of all political stipes taking turns at the mike. I loveed some of it and hated other parts of it but it was truly San Marcos. While we have all grown over the years I agree with Joe on this one. BRING BACK KIND

  2. A few notes: 103.5 “Bob” fm is owned and operated by Emmis Austin Radio in Austin, Texas; KTSW is not a commercial station and finally; it is very difficult and time consuming to get the FCC to allocate a decent bandwidth (much more than 100 watts currently allocated) to a city in between two booming radio markets. Hopefully this will change as HD radio becomes more conventional. In the meantime, it would be great if the city allowed some public access use (it just wouldn’t reach very far).

  3. Perhaps my memory is cloudy, but my recollection is that the mission of KIND radio was marijuana legalization and involved outing informants on the air.

    Personally, I’m pro-legalization, but I can’t say that I recall the radio station being completely altruistic and driven only to keep the people of San Marcos informed.

    Again, maybe my memory fails me, or maybe I was misinformed by a particular frequent visitor to and ardent supporter of KIND who would brag to me, daily, about what he said was going on over there.

    Whatever the real story was, it is a shame that we do not have a local station now, but we didn’t have Newstreamz (or that other site) until very recently, so maybe this will be another step in the right direction.

  4. When I listened to KIND radio, I heard more vulgarity than substance, and more bashing than bright ideas, not to mention the time that KIND radio was broadcasting the license plates, colors, makes and models of the unmarked and undercover police cars to alert fellow illegal drug users.

    It is hard for me to take Joe Ptak seriously when his claim to fame is strolling into the San Marcos Police Department with a lit marijuana cigarette and smoking said joint in front of police officers to be intentionally arrested. His happy face protest and copy cat followers unnecessarily tied up law enforcement officers with arrest, paperwork, and subsequent trial testimony all in Ptak’s self serving agenda to legalize marijuana. His notoriety in “High Times” magazine, a well known doper publication, of the “San Marcos Seven” is not something to be proud of in my opinion. By his own admission many times Ptak admits that marijuana drug use is a regular part of his life.

    KIND radio was anti-law enforcement, anti-establishment, anti-everything except what Ptak thought was appropriate. It was a one man show and not a station that served the community. Now I ask you: How did KIND radio serve the COMMUNITY and not just Joe Ptak’s interest and agenda?? If you are going to start another KIND radio station leave the stash and the pipe at home, and bring some quality programming to the microphone.

  5. Mr. Sergi, since KIND radio was an ILLEGAL radio station operating without FCC licensing, and since you were on the payroll of the San Marcos 7, I can see why you would have a financial interest in supporting them. It didn’t take you long to stick your business card on the door.

  6. Folks, I disagree with Dan with some of what he says. I remember the Habengrather v Chiu mayorial debates and I also remember some strident right wingers going on about gun rights and anti abortion . I also seem to recall that anyone who wanted to could get on the air could . While Joe and his gang (and yes I did represent Brian Anderson and some of the other San Marcos 7) represent one part of our town, they did let anyone have access to the mike. I hope that we have all grown up and that we can have some real community radio that focuses on San Marcos. I for one am tired of listening to KNBT to get some form of local radio.

    I am now in Frisco, Colorado and am listening to some of the great radio( anything from the music of Vivaldi to the Dead and politics from Dobson to Kucinich) up here and hope that we can have it back home.

    David K. Sergi
    David K. Sergi and Associates PC
    329 South Guadalupe Street
    San Marcos, Texas 78666
    Tel 512 392 5010 Fax 512 392 5042

    Protecting the Lord’s children who have fallen short of perfection from the wrath of those who believe they have attained it — Stu Kinard

  7. Anyone who knows the San Marcos Seven knows that they never had a payroll or a chance of having one. Anyone who knows David Sergi should know that he is not ruled by financial interests. He is fair and a friend to his neighbors.
    KIND Radio was not a one man show, either. I was repeatedly asked to come on KIND Radio and even host a program of my choosing without sensorship or restrictions. This was all done without advertisement or profit, and I don’t see what problems the FCC had with them.

  8. I have never met an attorny that was not ruled by financial interest. Never. If KIND radio is the best San Marcos had to offer, it is truely a sad state of affairs and not something the community should be proud of.

  9. Dear Dan

    I was a PRO BONO Counsel for Zeal Stefanoff and Bryan Anderson, there was no money changing hands (as I recall) while YOU were on the pay roll of the city. I have no axe to grind with you and please let this stop here. Some of simply beleive that all folks should have a voice. Both you and I have had many decent conversations and I respect the work you do as a volunteer witht e dive team. Lets please keep it that way.

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