KRJF-LP Santa Rosa
On Thursday, August 10th, Ben Saari took a break from setting up the KRJF internet stream to talk about the new low power frequency station in Santa Rosa, CA.
“I’m afraid that when I turn this thing on it’ll sound like my iPod on shuffle. I want more folks to get in as quickly as possible [for more variety].”
Saari launched the internet stream to get things rolling while waiting on tower construction. With the permit expiring in January, the tower is the biggest hurdle right now. “Even then, I’m confident that we can get something done to satisfy the FCC, even if we have to extend.”
“We’ve got some money to build it and good people who will volunteer.”
Reporting on Local Issues
The KRJF license is held by the Redwood Justice Fund (RJF), an organization whose mission is “to promote positive environmental values and to defend human and civil rights secured by law.” Saari is a board member and notes that social justice activism has been his lifelong vocation. With this new radio station, he is particularly interested in addressing issues of media access.
“There’s a whole lot of overlapping community issues [in] underserved communities, [and] communities with no radio programming specific to their area. There’s a lot of large immigrant communities, [particularly] Pilipino, that don’t have access to radio programming on the other noncommercial stations.”
Coastal California has a range of social issues that are readily reported on by various stations in the area. The bigger stations tend to focus on geographical problems, which leaves smaller stations able to serve their specific communities. Issues like police accountability, mental illness, and homelessness give small stations more freedom to do what they want. Ben wants KRJF is to be the platform that creates satisfying resolutions to these community issues. “That sustained, long haul, real attempts to change things.”
The tower’s proposed site is in an agricultural area that operates under the California Land Conservation (Williamson) Act. The Williamson Act works to “preserve agricultural and open space lands by discouraging premature and unnecessary conversion to urban use.” This means that further research is needed before the tower can be built.
Listeners can tune in online while waiting for tower construction to finish. There is also an audience survey to help with bugs and improvement. For those in the area, look out for application to be on the local advisory board. Ben is particularly interested in getting volunteers who are experienced in fundraising and radio.
Becoming a Pacifica Affiliate
Access to a variety of media is crucial for allowing communities to deal with issues and expand on ideas. “I think that media access is hugely important. And local control…I think local affiliates are really the vanguard of what Pacifica could be.”
For Ben, becoming a Pacifica affiliate is obvious. “I think a national network of noncommercial, grassroots radio [is] absolutely crucial. Pacifica’s history is important. To be a counter force to commercial media in the U.S. is hugely important.”
“With KRJF, it’s been a dream since I helped to build it. KRJF is new and willing to take risks.”