Local community radio station celebrates efforts and calls for continued support

By ELAINE INGALLS, Santa Cruz Sentinel
PUBLISHED: February 15, 2019 at 5:06 pm

SANTA CRUZ — A crowd of more than 50 people in unison shouted a countdown from five to one to the local community radio station KSQD going live on air.

“People put their lives kind of on hold in some way and did doubletime for two years,” said Board Chair Rachel Goodman as she recognized the community, board members and other volunteers in getting the station on air.

Goodman said the station will heal a wound after the former public radio station KUSP sold in 2017.

The live broadcast launch and ribbon cutting was held Friday afternoon in the County Office of Education Annex on Encinal Street. Attendees toured the station while others had Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider and an orange and white squid cake. Board members of Natural Bridges Media as well as county and city officials spoke at the event.

“Although a new station, you’re old friends of Santa Cruz doing incredible work and aspiring to be the voice of the people for the people and by the people,” said Mayor Martine Walkins.

Assemblyman Mark Stone spoke on the importance of grassroots media, “so that people in our area have a sense of reality of what’s important to us here and now, what’s going on in our community.”

Karson Bischoff, a soon-to-be live DJ on KSQD’s music show, “The Audible Kaleidoscope,” is “going back to his roots of noncommercial community radio” after airing on KPIG for 18 years. The show will air 1-3 p.m. Mondays starting next week. He said he’s been ready to go live for a month.

Goodman called for the continued community involvement.

“Let’s take this feeling of enthusiasm and bring it outward and back inward because it’s going to take all of us to keep it going,” she said. “We can’t just ignore it and expect it to thrive.”

Outreach Coordinator Omar Guzman will be hosting “Spotlight on Watsonville” with Rebecca Rayston to focus on local events and news in an area that he is said is underrepresented. He said there will always be an intern position and he wants to push social media in order to attract young people.

Guzman, 28, of Watsonville, said that besides underwriters, the station is entirely volunteer-based.

Board Treasurer Mathilde Rand said the station needs $4,000 to meet its fundraising goal. She said the station has enough money for the first few months, but will run a pledge drive in the spring for future costs.

“It does take a village, and it’s a wonderfully populated vision,” said Ned Hearn, board vice chair.