Airwaves: June 2, 2006
Dreaming is Free
I must be a cold-hearted person.
Twenty-five years ago, the students of California State University, Long Beach tried their best to save one of the premiere student-run radio stations in Southern California -- ten-watt KSUL -- and at the same time save one of the premiere radio-television departments.
For Long Beach State had just bought full-power KLON from Long Beach City College, and university administration sent out unconfirmed messages that there was no way that students could be involved in the new station.
Turns out the students were right. The university never realized the gem they had in KSUL, a station run by students but advised by professionals and run as professional as any underfunded station could be. In March, 1981, KSUL was shut down, students were shown the door, and KLON took over the studios.
In the past 25 years, KLON became KKJZ, the radio-television department became essentially but a memory, and many former KSUL students furthered their professional broadcast careers: Kim Amidon (KOST mornings), Paul Sakrison (KNX/KFWB Engineering), Phil Hulett (anchor, KFWB), and many more.
And still, students are few to be found at KKJZ. Those who are allowed in the door are not allowed on the air ... in spite of KKJZ's educational license, a type of license that was originally issued by the FCC for student involvement or other educational uses. KKJZ, for all intents and purposes, is a professionally-run station just shy of being fully commercial.
So I am extremely humored that 25 years later, Pacific Public Radio is taking to the streets to try to save their contract to manage KKJZ. Begging listeners to write in to save their version of the station.
Not that students will ever be allowed back in the doors. Not in any real sense.
On May 5th, the university sent notice that it was requesting proposals from five different organizations -- including Pacific Public Radio, which has run KKJZ since 1987 -- asking how they would like to serve the university and the station's listeners. The university wants to explore how to strengthen ties between it and the station, including increasing the number of internships for students. The jazz format is not at stake, according to CSULB administration.
A good start, but a far cry from the amazing laboratory that was once KSUL. Personally -- and I have said this many times in the past -- I don't think a university should be allowed to hold a license to a station that is not run by and for students as much as possible. I don't care about the format: if students aren't a primary part, the station should lose its license.
Of course that won't happen. But I can dream.
Speaking of KSUL
Alumni of KSUL are planning a reunion this weekend. Ironic, considering what is happening at the station that shut KSUL down, but completely coincidental. The event has been in the works for months -- long before the university decided to ask for bids.
Longtime KOST personality Ted Ziegenbusch has returned to the soft-rock station after a stay at 95.9 The Fish.
Starting tomorrow night, Ziegenbusch will be the weekend host of "Love Songs On the KOST," the popular nightly program that actually began as "Pillow talk" on KFI years ago. "I'm thrilled to be back," he told lardio.com's Don Barrett. "I can't wait to get started!"
Copyright © 2006 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.
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