MONTEREY – A local radio station, known affectionately as K-Squid, is ready to extend its reach to more listeners now that it has purchased more radio licenses, and will mark the milestone with a celebratory event.
KSQD, the community radio station run by nonprofit Natural Bridges Media, will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its newly expanded K-Squid broadcast at Window On The Bay Park in Monterey on June 21 at 1 p.m.
“It feels amazing,” said Rachel Goodman, Natural Bridges Media Board Chair. “It’s so gratifying that our community came forward and wants to see community radio thriving.”
In February, the radio station attained a goal of raising $400,000 to purchase two radio licenses that would potentially triple its audience from about 175,000 to about 645,000 listeners. In the end, the nonprofit would exceed its goal by $5,000. Funding for the expansion came from Pat and Rowland Rebele, The Rex Foundation, an anonymous patron and countless individuals who gave at every level between $10 and $10,000.
During its mini pledge drive in early February, in one three-day period, the station received $18,000 in pledges making it possible to close out its capital campaign.
The campaign had started about a year prior and ended when an anonymous donor came up with a challenge, saying they would give $30,000 if the campaign was able to raise $18,000 by midnight a few days later.
That challenge worked to spur others to action, inspired many people to donate and pushed the fundraising passed its goal.
Goodman said the response showed that people are hungry for local news, information and culture.
“It lets us know that we are striking a chord with our listeners,” she said. “People want to feel a part of where they live … especially after COVID when people felt less connected.”
KSQD was started in 2019 to serve the local community with news, interviews and music programming relevant to the region, according to Natural Bridges Media. Since the original signal at 90.7 FM did not reach parts of Watsonville and Aptos, as well as Monterey, Carmel and Salinas, the Board of Directors had been seeking to expand the broadcast regionally as a goal from the beginning.
Through its fundraising campaign, the nonprofit was able to purchase the licenses and equipment for a full-power FM station – 89.7 FM – which has its antenna on Fremont Peak in the Gabilan Range northeast of Salinas and the translator – 89.5 FM – on Mount Toro in the Santa Lucia Range southwest of Salinas.
The first thing people will probably notice are the call letters. Listeners will now hear KSQD at the original Santa Cruz 90.7 FM, KSQT Prunedale 89.7 FM, and K207FE(FX) Monterey 89.5 FM.
K-Squid’s main studio is in the Santa Cruz County Office of Education building at 399 Encinal St. in the city of Santa Cruz.
KSQD’s program schedule currently includes a variety of musical styles, from classical and jazz, to rock, folk and bluegrass. Talk-show programming is a mix of locally-hosted shows such as Ask Dr. Dawn, the Dream Journal, Be Bold America, What A Week and Talk of the Bay, with nationally syndicated shows such as Democracy Now!, Thom Hartmann, Laura Flanders and Counterspin.
Goodman said to expect to hear more voices from other parts of the community not reached before by way of interviews and other programming. With the potential to expand its audience, comes more ears that have never heard K-Squid before.
“Tell us how we can serve you and your community,” said Goodman. “We’d like to hear from our new listeners.”
Natural Bridges Media/KSQD’s mission is to build community through quality broadcasts, podcasts, training programs and community events, celebrating the uniqueness of the region through news, arts, and culturally diverse programming.
The station plans to include programs and hosts from the expanded broadcast region of Salinas, Monterey, Carmel, Seaside, Prunedale and Watsonville.
More information on all the shows, forms for making suggestions about new programs, and the live broadcast online, are available at the station website at ksqd.org.