Here's what's happening on KSKQ this week:
- Hearth Radio Hour, Wednesday, March 25 @ 1:00 pm. The Spring edition of the Hearth featured stories on the theme of "Letting Go." Story tellers include Cat Gould, Dee Anne Everson, Emma Durbin, Adam Marx, and Jim Titus. Listen to the whole program or download the podcast.
- Literary Ashland, Friday, March 27 @ 1 mm. Ed Battistella and Michael Niemann interview SOU professor Precious Yamaguchi, author of "Experiences of Japanese American Women During and After World War II."
This all started in February 2012 when a local farmer discovered gmo sugar beets growing within Ashland city limits, and beyond throughout the Rogue Valley. Citizens organized and proposed an Initiative to ban the growing of gmo crops in Jackson County, concerned about genetic contamination from these patented laboratory inventions, and the spread of the toxic pesticides use to grow them. Josephine County followed.
The state of Oregon eventually passed its own preemption law in special session we call the Oregon Monsanto Protection Act, which prevents any other county from regulating its own seed and agriculture by passing gmo growing bans. Jackson County received an exemption to this law, and it is not clear if Josephine County was also allowed to bring its own ordinance under exemption.
The political campaigns in both counties heated up, with large opposition funding coming in from out of state chemical companies, sugar conglomerates and the Farm Bureau, a front group for the chemical companies who engineer and patent gmos. Local concerned citizens organized and conducted a wide-spread grassroots campaign, bringing in a surprising amount of money from local and national supporters, yet was still outspent 4 to 1. The official Jackson County campaign focused on the effect of gmos on farmers, while other concerns focused on the influence multi-national chemical companies have on our local politics, land use, public health and ecology, and self-determination.
Despite an alarming assessment by the County Administrator for the 1st year cost to implement such an ordinance, featured in the most prominent local newspaper, organizers and citizens continued the grassroots campaign. A large 'tractor brigade' of farmers driving tractors through downtown Medford was a great awareness-builder, also was featured in local papers. Lawn signs, phone banking, canvassing door-to-door by many committed volunteers, a letter-to-the-editor campaign that influenced many voters (and irked the opposition), and much else all accelerated up to the May 20th, 2014 election night.
There the results came in: an overwhelming victory for the grassroots campaign, 66% voting to ban gmo crops! Josephine County won with 58%! Joyous celebration ensued.
Six months later the Jackson County was sued by two gmo alfalfa growers backed by the chemical companies. They claim their right to farm under a state law is infringed by the county ordinance, requesting over $4 million in compensation, and permanent repeal of the ordinance. Four other parties filed to intervene and defend the county ordinance, including the original farmer who discovered gmo's, another county farm, the coalition of farmers who led the campaign, and a national organization that assists such cases. Depositions and discovery are underway at this time, and a decision is expected on May 20th, exactly one year after the resounding victory.
Sprouts is a weekly program that features local radio production and stories from many radio stations and local media groups worldwide. It is produced in collaboration with community radio stations and independent producers across the country.
Every week Sprouts broadcasts stories from local communities with national significance. The features are produced independently, but are generally tied by a common theme. Sprout's mission is to bring new voices to the airwaves, increase communication between this larger community of media producers of conscience, and encourage production collaboration across geographical distances via the Internet. The producers aim to bring unique voices from many individual parts of the country, joined together within the context of issues of national scope. They always welcome new members and provide support for to them via conference calls and other forms of communication. They seek diverse voices and viewpoints, new producers coming to the air, and the unique viewpoints from local areas.
Sprouts is broadcast every Monday, 10-10:30 am.
It is with great sadness that KSKQ announces the passing of Michael McGuire, the broadcast engineer who shepherded KSKQ all the way from its beginnings in 2004 to where we are today, broadcasting at 560 watts to the whole Rogue Valley. Michael was a member of the original team that dreamed of having a low power community radio station in Ashland.
After the station received its low power construction permit from the FCC in 2004, Michael helped everyone keep their eyes on the price. The fledgling station faced many obstacles--finding a proper antenna location, finding a studio space, finding the money to make it all happen. In 2007, just days away from loosing its construction permit, when many on the organizing committee were ready to let the permit lapse, Michael pushed forward. He spearheaded the effort to install the antenna and transmitter at Joe's place on the old Highway 99. And so KSKQ went on the air.
In the years since, Michael was the indispensable technical resource, the man who knew broadcasting technology inside out and who single-handedly kept us on the air. The transition to the full power license, the installation of the transmitter on Table Mountain, the planning for the full power antenna, all of it wouldn't have happened without Michael. The photos below show his wonderful spirit. From left to right: Michael installing the low power transmitter - broadcasting for the first time - Michael during the full power test broadcast on Table Mountain - the plaque honoring Michael
We mourn his passing and remain deeply grateful for his contributions.
Here is a short video of Michael McGuire supervising the installation of the new transmitter.