Letters at Length

Community radio saved AHS season

On Friday night, Feb. 24, the Ashland Grizzly boys and girls teams completed their basketball season, ending 20 years for me as the radio and Internet "Voice of the Grizz."

It was a season I will never forget, but not for the reason you might think. It began last summer when Ashland High School football and basketball broadcasts were unceremoniously dumped after 49 years on KTMT AM 580, currently owned by Radio Medford. It's ironic, since AM 580 is licensed to Ashland, yet it broadcasts nothing for our community any longer.

So, all of a sudden, the Grizz had no radio home for 2011-2012.

In stepped in Ashland's Community Radio, KSKQ. They saved our broadcast season. I would like to thank Connie Saldana, and especially Carson Bench for the opportunity they have given to me and the Grizz. With their help we were able to finish the 50th year of Grizz Radio without incident.

KSKQ has struggled to stay on the air and they need all our help. Because of our local Ashland underwriters and sponsors, we were able to financially support KSKQ with $4,200 in broadcast fees. This money used to go to corporate radio coffers — no longer.

During the season KSKQ went from broadcasting via a generator to a reliable electricity source for its transmitter. A new antenna will increase the coverage of the station to most of the Rogue Valley once it is in place, hopefully this summer.

The station's restricted coverage area was the biggest complaint I heard. Some couldn't pick up our radio broadcast, but did so with Internet and iPhone audio, which is easily accessible today. It's a way for fans to overcome the lack of signal coverage. As a result, we had a banner year of Internet and iPhone log-ons to our sports broadcasts.

I encourage you to give KSKQ 89.5 FM a listen. You will be surprised by the local content and information available in programs made by local citizens. What a concept: local radio, local people, local information. That's the way corporate radio used to be.

Over the past 20 years, Table Rock Sports Productions has contributed more than $132,000 to Ashland, SOU, North Medford, South Medford and Crater High athletics. This year we will add about $4,000 more to the total. My sports broadcast partners, Joe Brett, Tom Ersepke, Michael Campbell and I support extracurricular activities at our high schools with our efforts and our wallets, not just our mouths. Now we've added KSKQ Community Radio to our group, with the hope that you will support these efforts as well.

Pete Belcastro, "Voice of the Grizz"


Personhood issue was waste of time

In my opinion, bringing the corporate personhood issue to the Ashland City Council was a waste of time. Do Ashland's liberals understand what it takes, at the federal level, to get an amendment to the Constitution passed? Apparently not. Resident John Limb says "This campaign will succeed by winning city by city, state by state."

Approving city, county and state resolutions doesn't influence federal policy. The determined and widespread actions resulting in hundreds of resolutions against the USAPATRIOT Act in 2002 and 2003 had no effect. After all of our efforts, the USAPATRIOT Act is not only still with us, it's been strengthened by Obama signing the National Defense Authorization Act.

Activists must also consider the more than one dozen state medical marijuana programs, and how they haven't initiated changes in federal policy. DEA raids continue on medical marijuana grow sites and dispensaries.

A great deal of time and energy is being focused on separate areas of concern. There are literally hundreds of areas we should be concerned about in politics, education and the environment. There are militaristic problems, religious issues and privacy matters. The feds are dividing and conquering. Our goal must be to go after them with a united front, and not within the system they themselves created.

The supreme irony in the corporate personhood example is SOU's Oregon State Public Interest Research Group (OSPIRG) persuading David Cobb, one of the leaders of Move To Amend, to come to Ashland. Ralph Nader originated the PIRGs. David Cobb manipulated the Green Party in the 2004 election year, forcing Nader to run as an Independent.

Besides a major loss of votes at the national level, the Greens suffered losses in both state and local elections that year, and their membership numbers fell. For enlightenment, local activists should read "All That's Left is the Cobb: The Decline of the Green Party" at www.counterpunch.org/greenfield03192005.html and "Diagnosing the Green Party: Narcissism Runs Rampant" at www.pressaction.com/news/weblog/full_article/frank02242005/

Liberals continue to spin their wheels like hamsters in a cage.

Robert Simms


Share This Story