KSKQ Radio Programming By the People for the People, Putting the UNITY in COMMUNITY

KSKQ is Southern Oregon’s community radio station. In today’s interview I speak with Anna Wild, host of “a-dub Live radio hour”. What does POWERED FOR THE PEOPLE AND BY THE PEOPLE actually mean? Since our interview in 2017 there have been many changes at the station, particularly in programming. On July 9th KSKQ launched a revised and newly balanced program schedule, one which the station volunteers hope the community will find both educational and entertaining.  

Anna, thanks so much for speaking with us today and welcome back to LocalsGuide.  

Hello Shields, thank you for this opportunity. Please do note, all of the views I express are completely my own and are only representative of myself and the others who are quoted when I am sharing them, they are not representative of KSKQ or the Multicultural Association of Southern Oregon.

To begin with, I’d like to ask how long you have been volunteering at KSKQ? And what brought you into it? Have you always had an interest in radio?

I produced my first “a-dub LIVE radio hour” on the final Thursday in December, the year 2010. I had been living in Ashland for 10 years and music was the only thing missing for me as I setup home in this paradise, here in Southern Oregon. A few months earlier I had serendipitously met Carson Bench a member of the KSKQ Management Committee and Programming Director at the time. Carson told me all about Ashland’s only Community Radio Station, KSKQ (sounds like Siskiyou). A station with no commercials! KSKQ was presently seeking volunteers willing to be program hosts and since music has always been a giant part of my life I thought “yes”. I had always enjoyed creating mix tapes, cassettes, and gelling which song to play after the next.

My radio show, “a-dub LIVE radio hour” began purposely titled as such because live performance is also a giant part of my life. There is nothing more powerful to me than experiencing something in real time, with others. Now 8+ seasons later, “a-dub Live radio hour” has morphed into a togetherness program. Whenever I am LIVE, not recorded, and speaking and sharing music in real time with my listeners, to me, we are “together”. Home for me is being Live-Together, even if it’s being on the phone with my Mom who is 2500 miles away, I am home when we’re “together”. I share that sentiment every show, between the tunes I get to choose to play, one song after another, Pavarotti to Pink Floyd all in one hour.

 

I want to congratulate KSKQ on launching a newly balanced program schedule. How long has it taken to formulate this new schedule?  

KSKQ volunteers have been working straight from the heart since 2005 and for me, it has taken every bit of the time since to get to the program schedule we have launched today. Every experience and all of the feedback from community has contributed to this new design, a balanced design, balanced by the people for the people. We know there will be more tweaks to come but I believe we have found a fresh and quite refined starting point, a programming schedule with just enough education and just enough entertainment to satisfy. Coupled with our commitment to provide consistency, KSKQ Community Radio remains a force to be reckoned with in our commercialized, media hype of a culture.

Jeff Westergard, who has led the Programming Action Committee, a committee developed solely for this purpose, puts it this way, “This has been a six month journey on the part of the PAC and it’s been like solving a Rubik’s Cube on a sand dune on a barge going down the Colorado River.”

You have mentioned a balance of education and entertainment and consistency. Please describe how KSKQ accomplished this.

KSKQ’s Programming Action Committee calls it SIX STRIPES / SIX BANDS of TWO HOURS of programming arranged so that listeners can aim to make a date to listen. We have shifted some news shows to Sunday afternoon and developed horizontal consistency and vertical flow. The morning shows, un-syndicated and hosted by Southern Oregon DJ’s, will broadcast from 8 to 10 a.m. then an eclectic mix of syndicated shows 10 to 12, Democracy Now will be shared at both 7 a.m. (as it happens, live!) and 12 Noon (recorded). Our locally produced music/talk shows, hosted by Southern Oregon DJ’s will be broadcasted 1 to 3 and then 3 to 5 and evenings 7 to 9 and 9 to 11 p.m. SIX STRIPES / SIX BANDS, horizontally. You can see my attempt of displaying the 6 STRIPES on the KSKQ Program Schedule.

KSKQ’s Programming Action Committee has used the term SIX STRIPES / SIX BANDS, can you explain to us what stripes / bands are in radio?

From what I understand a stripe (or band) is a specific set of hours in the programming schedule setup to provide expectation and consistency for listeners. Stripes are horizontally diagrammed in the program schedule as they fall across certain hours Monday to Friday or sometimes the entire 7 days of the week. In the recent past we had 3 bands of time, 12 Noon Democracy Now, the alternative news program that KSKQ has broadcasted since inception, 7 to 9 a.m. was setup to be the KSKQ Morning Show, music and news and 4 to 6pm was setup to be the KSKQ in the Afternoon or Drive 89 five, 94 point One of a Kind show. With the new programming schedule we have set out to commit more stripes (or bands) to the “education” provision of the station and most importantly, for me, at the same time we are stepping up our community involvement and information broadcasting during our local shows to achieve this.

Tell us about the new Program Director, Omar Rodriguez.

KSKQ’s newest department leader hales from Los Angeles and has been living in the Rogue Valley for 10 years. Omar has worked to support Veterans and the Disabled. He also works as Manager at a Cannabis Extraction Company and is a part time musician in a rock band as a vocalist. Other than the fact that Omar is organized, is a Music Producer, and has excellent planning skills, what makes him a potentially fabulous Program Director is his desire for establishing strong connections with people. He believes compassion is the answer to everything in life. “Genuine love is hard to come by these days,” Omar says. As Program Director at KSKQ he plans to “provide a place for peace and education. A free space for our community and our programmers … and a smile to all of our listeners.”

Give us two examples of programs that impact and educate the community.

In my opinion, every locally produced program impacts and educates our community since the person on the mic at the studio is impacted and educated directly by the experience of sharing enthusiasm and togetherness. The program host is also taught by the listeners how to interact with community and what’s important to community. Two programs, if I have to name only two, off the top of my head, I will say Empower Your Life which is hosted by Alaya Ketani, CHT CFT CPC, licensed hypnotherapist and Founder and Executive Director of Keeping Ashland Women Safe Task Force, K.A.W.S and the second program Literary Ashland which is hosted by Ed Battistella and Michael Niemann. You can see the entire schedule listed in this issue of the LocalsGuide and please, I invite everyone to visit KSKQ.org for the whole list of programs and more detailed information.

Tell us more about Alaya Ketani’s program, Empower Your Life.

“Empower Your Life” is hosted by Alaya Ketani, and in her words the program “focuses on guests who have become clear and standing in their empowerment bringing much needed positive impact and influence to the lives of others and our Earth”. The program leads guests into deep conversation, sharing perceptions. It’s a very personal hour where conversation is real and often tackles the really tough aspects of life including the oppression of women in many forms, trauma and others that most of us experience. Alaya Ketani, CHT CFT CPC, is a private practice Hypnotherapist in three Southern Oregon locations as well as Founder and Executive Director of Keeping Ashland Women Safe Task Force, K.A.W.S.

Some other empowering programs at KSKQ, and please note this is a short sample of many, Age of Adventure, which empowers senior citizens and is sponsored by the Senior Citizens Association (thank you Senior Center), Rogue Regynesis listeners in the aspect of money and commerce, Farm Talk empowers our crop growers and everyone who sets up shop at the Ashland Farmers Market which takes place Tuesday Mornings at the New Armory.

I am guessing that Literary Ashland is about writing and writers. Can you tell us a bit more about that program which is hosted by two Ashland authors?

Yes, you guessed it Shields. Literary Ashland is a program about writing and writers which was first produced in July, 2014 and presently airs on the fourth Friday of the month at 1 pm. Literary Ashland is a half hour show hosted by Ed Battistella and Michael Niemann. Ed is an English professor at SOU who writes non-fiction. His latest book is Sorry About That. The Language of Public Apology and Michael writes crime fiction. His latest book is No Right Way. Each month on the fourth Friday, the two authors invite a local writer or poet to speak about their work, the craft of writing, the importance of books, and much more. Last April, for example they interviewed Sophia Bogle who is a professional book restorer and just published a book about her craft. The show aims to interview a broad range of guests, from New York Times reviewed authors to self-published authors. The only criterion is that they are local to the Rogue Valley.

I understand KSKQ offers a class at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. Can you tell us a bit about the curriculum?

 Yes, we are glad you asked about OLLI. KSKQ’s presence at OLLI solidly exemplifies our commitment to community and terrestrial radio. The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Southern Oregon University is a member driven volunteer educational community established about 25 years ago for individuals 50 and older to foster intellectual curiosity, continuous learning, peer community, volunteerism. Jan Elliott, our KSKQ representative volunteers her time and expertise to organize the KSKQ Hands On Radio class that began in 2017. The 7 sessions cover an overview of radio history, radio’s role of media in society, the legal framework, how to apply for a show, the responsibilities of a host in the studio, and the skills of producing a program.

Tell us about KSKQ’s use of social media. Is KSKQ taking new initiative on this front since we last spoke?

Kevin Caldwell is KSKQ’s Social Media Coordinator and he is excited to be the designer of our We Are KSKQ campaign that spotlights a couple programmers a week. The concept came to Kevin while he was brainstorming ways KSKQ could improve presence online.

“In short, the KSKQ Social Media Coordinator is responsible for the upkeep of the station’s various social media platforms that we use to connect with our audience. The coordinator curates the content for the platforms; content that is both educational and engaging. Coordinators usually also handle any incoming questions, comments, or concerns that are received on the platforms.”

Kevin CaldwelI is determined to keep KSKQ gelling within our ever-growing “connected” world. The campaign is a way for our audience (and, by extension, ourselves) to get to know the programmers/volunteers who run KSKQ. Kevin says, “I’ve always believed that putting a face to the name makes something a little more tangible, more real. It’s a way to show our community that we are a part of them in more ways than just the voice they hear on their way home from work.”

 

Thank you for elaborating on how the new program schedule is FOR the people. Now can you tell us about KSKQ’s programming being BY the people?

To answer that question you first have to understand how unique a Community Radio Station actually is in the United States. We broadcast content that is relevant to a local audience, but is often overlooked by commercial or mass media broadcasters. We offer a platform for the articulate and the inarticulate. We were originally formed as an alternative to JPR Public Radio and their National Public Radio affiliation by becoming an affiliate of Pacifica Radio and broadcasting Democracy Now with Amy Goodman. We have been broadcasting that program and others since our inception.

In keeping with the Independent Broadcasting model, powered by the people describes the 70+ volunteers who dedicate time, contribute skills, provide input and share talents in conversation and artistic expression over the airwaves. Positions at the station are being filled by willing participants who are dedicated to community. Art Kraft is KSKQ’s News Director, Kevin Caldwell is KSKQ’s Social Media Coordinator, Whitney Reed is our Volunteer Coordinator, Omar Rodriguez is KSKQ’s Program Director and we’ll soon appoint a new Station Manager. We are an independent, non-commercial radio station. We can honestly say the programming is BY THE PEOPLE.

Tell us more about the News Director at KSKQ, Art Kraft.  

Art is a journalist, artist, and writer. As the News Director of NPR affiliate KCLU in Los Angeles, he produced hundreds of in-depth features and broadcasts. Art has worked in print journalism and has used his skills as a social observer to become an artist and eventually developed as a painter.

When we asked Art to tell us more, he said, “As a reporter I am mandated by my community to ask questions and seek answers as perceptively as I’m able. Lately, the questions I want to ask, involve the community itself. Why has our mainstream culture become so trivial? We appear to have a vital, energetic society, but most of that energy seems to be invested in just buying and owning things. If only we could celebrate life with the sheer power of a Coke commercial.

KSKQ is part of a sweeping movement in news and information….a movement that turns its back on a current culture that hammers us with breaking news. Breaking news tells us about the sensational exceptions to the rule, but rarely helps us understand the rule.

We flip that model and focus on what is really going on, below the surface of media hype. At KSKQ, we can hear the loudest voice in the room, but search out the still, small voice in the corner.”

What types of events in the community has KSKQ been recently involved in?

We most recently were present for the WORLD MUSIC FESTIVAL in Lithia Park, where we remotely broadcasted a portion of the performance, live on KSKQ. As we put together this interview today we are listening to the Waterfront Access Food Blues Festival, streaming live from Portland. KSKQ is a sister-station to KBOO in Portland, and many other media outlets in our state. As founding members of Oregon Community Media, KSKQ in Ashland plays a significant role in gathering and inspiring community media throughout Oregon.

What local groups and organizations does KSKQ’s network consist of?

KSKQ collaborates with any non-profit, it is just a matter of them reaching out to us. If a non-profit is hosting a benefit event and would like the invitation broadcasted for free there is a form online to facilitate that process. The Multicultural Association of Southern Oregon holds KSKQ’s educational license and that provides KSKQ with a powerful opportunity to befriend all of the cultural non-profits in Oregon. KSKQ and the Multicultural Association along with Oregon Community Media, are responsible for bringing our state’s non-commercial media outlets together in one room, creating an alliance and a mission greater than if southern Oregon were functioning by itself.

Please tell us about your Volunteer Coordinator, Whitney Reed.

Whitney was selected as the KSKQ Volunteer Coordinator by the MCASO Board. Her experience recruiting and organizing have helped elevate station morale while strategically disseminating tasks to volunteers, including our dedicated programmers. Whitney’s skills have helped create structure for our news programs, diversify thought within our management committee and create an inclusive atmosphere for current and incoming KSKQ volunteers.

We always welcome volunteers to help out at the station, greeting visitors, answering the phone, taking and relaying messages, and checking the mail. Right now we could really use a person to coordinate with local artists and host benefit concerts and other special events. Data entry operators during our spring and fall pledge drives would be an asset and we would appreciate help in tabling at various locations in the valley and everyone please spread the word about KSKQ. We’ve been seeking a newsletter editor for our digital newsletter and if you’re interested in reporting the news, join our news team. If your LocalsGuide readers want to help, direct them to our website (kskq.org) and download the volunteer form, found under the “Support” menu option.

Is there more you would like to tell us about the program schedule at KSKQ?

Our programming is driven by our mission to produce community radio that empowers the residents of the Rogue Valley, builds sustainable and resilient communities through the exchange of ideas, and celebrates cultural diversity. Our news and social justice programming began with Democracy Now! We were the first radio station in the Pacific Northwest to broadcast this signature program and we continue to bring you Democracy Now! Monday through Friday first at 7 a.m. and again at Noontime. In addition, we’ve added a wide variety of programs covering local, national and global issues that affect those who face far. A sampling of shows include Law and Disorder, Alternative Radio, Radio Ecoshock, Peace Talks Radio, and This Way Out. Locally produced shows include the Brain Labor Report and Rogue Regenesys,

We feature nearly every genre from Reggae, Latin, World, Punk, Alternative, R+B, HipHop, Rock, Jazz, Techno, Jam Bands, Indigenous music, Underground Sounds, Metal, to iconic classics spanning the decades. If your tastes lean towards Classical, tune in Sunday mornings.

Check out our newly revised program schedule on our website KSKQ.org!

Tell us about the community effort that goes into creating and promoting a show.

 Programs on KSKQ are carefully selected to enrich our community. Aspiring on-air hosts submit a program proposal that specifies the nature of the show as well as their previous broadcasting experience. The proposal is evaluated by the program director in consultation with the programming committee. If the proposal meets our needs, it is accepted. Once accepted, the new host goes through extensive training, shadows other hosts and puts in volunteer hours at the station. Once on the air, programmers are encouraged to promote their own show and to promote on the air and in the community. Our volunteers have opportunities to help create events and community outreach, sharing in KSKQ’s ongoing effort to increase listeners and financial contributions. To further our inspiration and to inspire others we are happy to now be offering each term at SOU an OLLI course that teaches hands-on community radio skills.

Tell us how “real people” and “non-commercial” are part of the KSKQ experience.

KSKQ is truly free from external control because our station is run by people in the neighborhood, people that you meet each day. Non-Commercial Educational licenses like KSKQ’s may only be held by non-profits. Rather than running advertisements, we share and introduce our listeners to local businesses that support community radio. There’s no corporate interest or influence. Everything you hear on KSKQ was produced or selected by our volunteer programmers. We are not beholden to far away interests who determine playlists or content. We offer uniquely diverse programming provided by a wide array of radio hosts. Our programming is insightful, poignant and doesn’t shy away from controversial topics.

Would you describe for us the structure of the working force behind KSKQ Community Radio?

The KSKQ team is built of 85 volunteers: programmers and other people who contribute a variety of skills. Day-to-day operations are overseen by a 5-person Management Committee. The weekly program schedule is maintained by the Program Director and the Programming Committee. The KSKQ News Director, Volunteer Coordinator, Social Media Coordinator and Station Manager all collaborate to keep the station moving forward. Policy is guided by the Board of the Multicultural Association of Southern Oregon. KSKQ’s community broadens to include members of organizations and public entities who contribute content and further grows to include our thousands of listeners. Most of all, our programmers are the ones who make the station tick. Without their creative input and unique perspectives, we would be just another media outlet.

What is the greatest contribution made to the station in the past week other than the continuous valuable time and effort of the many volunteers?

We have a new actually-meant-for-broadcast air board thanks to a grant from the Gordon Elwood Foundation. Installation will take two weekends (July 20-21 & July 27-28).  I understand the new board will be simpler, but much more capable and adapted to radio broadcast than the musician’s board we’ve been using since the inception of KSKQ.

We extend grateful thanks to the Gordon Elwood Foundation and to Tom Werner, professional radio engineer, who will do the installation! And thanks to all of you who will be doing the training and receiving the training so we can have a much improved and error-and-stress-free presentation for our listeners.

Do you have other thoughts to share before we sign off?

KSKQ has been evolving in the past year, finding a new balance in programming, re-developing our horizontal stripes (bands), to facilitate 21st century interest. It is not an easy task to keep up in this age of many media, immediate media, social media, not easy to keep up with providing the right balance of news and music. But we are making progress and we cannot do it without listener support, not only financial, but in the valuable form of participation. KSKQ is a valuable resource, unique in it’s old-radio-fashioned way but it’s live and through the airwaves we can be together. Please make a date and spend some time with us.

How do people tune in?

89.5 FM Ashland, Oregon, 94.1 FM Medford, Oregon and streaming at KSKQ.org.

Are there any last thoughts or comments you would like to share with our readers?

Check out our website, tune in, and listen. If you see something is missing it is probably you.

 

Learn More:
KSKQ Community Radio, 89.5 FM Ashland, 94.1 FM Medford
P.O. Box 67, Medford, OR 97501
330 E Hersey Street Ste 2, Ashland, OR 97520
www.KSKQ.org
541-482-3999