COMMENTARY: CMAP Sustains Death Knell for KQKE/LPFM, Supporters Urge Supes’ Help

CMAP board confirms it will not support KQKE Low Power FM Radio. Proponents appeal to county supervisors and Hollister/SJB city councils

Community Media Access Partnerhship (CMAP) a nonprofit, tax-exempt public, education and government access media center that serves Gilroy, Hollister and San Juan Bautista and based in Gilroy, officially confirmed its position to withdraw its previous commitment to support the building and operation of a Low Power FM (LPFM) radio station proposed to broadcast community-produced content that was envisioned to benefit underserved community members in San Benito County from an antenna that would transmit radio signals to an approximate 10-mile radius from downtown Hollister.

 CMAP Board Chair Charles Richburg on July 8 wrote an e-mail to LPFM radio supporters declaring:

The CMAP Board of Directors met on June 8. Input from the community was received. After some discussion, the Board voted unanimously not to pursue any further action related to the LPFM building permit or licensing process.

The following were part of the discussion and decision:

A survey was conducted that indicated little financial support in the community for the upkeep of the LPFM station, and little volunteer support available for keeping the station going.

CMAP was interested in teaming the radio station with a media center, in keeping with our mission statement. The community members who were vocal expressed a singleness of purpose focused only on radio, and were not interested in supporting the greater CMAP mission of training and access.

CMAP has an upcoming financial challenge in a required move from our current facility at Christopher High School. This requires great attention and financial commitment in identifying and moving to a new location.

KQKE/LPFM radio supporters reject the data the CMAP Board used to deliberate and vote down its support for the proposed LPFM radio station the board previously agreed to support. A survey was commissioned to an Australian-based firm that was exclusive to Facebook users in San Benito County which suggested the community would not financially support LPFM radio operations in the county. However, LPFM radio supporters were quick to point out that the survey did not include: Latino/Spanish-speaking community members, senior citizens, youth groups, musicians/artists, nonprofit organizations, service clubs, San Benito County Fair/Saddle Horse Show, locally elected government officials and/or staff which would benefit from future community-produced content to promote community events and public dialogue and civil debate about future public policy matters in San Benito County.

The Community Foundation for San Benito County (CFFSBC) makes grants to community groups from funds established by individuals, families, businesses and others that want to support the work of nonprofits, schools, and other groups that address community concerns. The Foundation is knowledgeable about the communities it serves and the choices available to donors to help them reach their philanthropic and financial goals. Governed by community leaders and accountable to the communities they serve, the Foundation provides focus on the needs of our community and is able to direct grants to nonprofit groups  in order to fulfill donors' interests.  To ensure that resources will be available for many years, community foundations focus on establishing endowed funds that grow over time. The income earned on these funds is available for grant-making.

To date, CMAP staff has not applied for grants from the Community Foundation even though CMAP's Executive Director Becca King Reed has met with CFFSBC staff regarding LPFM radio opportunities in San Benito County. The Foundation is advertising that it is still offering nonprofit grant funding to nonprofit organizations like CMAP which could be used to support community-based news and information portals and repositories like KQKE/LPFM and Benito Link. KQKE/LPFM supporters have repeatedly offered to establish crowdfunding and special event fundraising campaigns to benefit community-based public multimedia outlets in San Benito County but have not been provided the support, guidance and feedback necessary from CMAP staff and its board of directors to organize such an effort.

Community members interested in lobbying elected officials to support KQKE/LPFM and Benito Link in San Benito County are encouraged to copy and paste the following text and e-mail the San Benito County Board of Supervisors at: [email protected]

Dear San Benito County Supervisor,
I am writing to you as a concerned constituent in San Benito County regarding the opportunity to establish and maintain a Low Power FM (LPFM) radio station with the proposed call letters of KQKE proposed to be built in downtown Hollister with the capability to broadcast in an approximate radius of 10 miles from Park Hill were the antenna to be mounted from that location.

As you may know, under the leadership efforts of Bob Reid, Community Access Media Partnership (CMAP) acquired the LPFM broadcast license and/or building permit to establish and operate a LPFM radio station with the requirement to broadcast content by August 2015 or the FCC license/building permit would expire. CMAP initially agreed to support LPFM as part of its core mission to enhance multi-media service under the auspices of its Mission Statement, however, CMAP commissioned a survey to an Australian-based firm to a limited population of San Benito County community members via Facebook which LPFM radio supporters do not feel truly represents the diverse demographics of our community. The results of that survey suggest that LPFM radio would not be sustainable in San Benito County, thus, CMAP voted to terminate its support and reverse its commitment to build a LPFM radio station that will benefit San Benito County community members effectively dooming the prospects of KQKE LPFM radio forever.

As a member of a large group of LPFM supporters in San Benito County, I am writing to ask you to take immediate action to contact CMAP and voice your support to extend the FCC license/building permit for 6 months. The extension will provide KQKE/LPFM supporters the opportunity to establish a crowdfunding campaign and lobby the Community Foundation for San Benito County to establish a special fund to support community-based multimedia outlets like KQKE LPFM and Benito Link, nonprofit community-based news and information portals/repositories in San Benito County. We believe that community-based multi-media outlets are the bedrock foundation communication tools that facilitate and encourage public policy dialogue and civil debate which gives equal voice to all community members and furthers the cause of democracy in San Benito County. 

Your support as a community leader is critical and urgently needed as the opportunity to establish LPFM in San Benito County may disappear in 30 days. Please take immediate action to contact CMAP staff and its Board of Directors to reverse its position to terminate support for LPFM in San Benito County. Please work with your represented constituents to extend the FCC deadline so that we can organize fundraising activities to build and operate community-based multi-media operations that will benefit an underrepresented segment of community members including: senior citizens, Latino/Spanish-speaking community members, musicians/artists, youth groups, nonprofit organizations, service clubs and current/future political candidates interested in reaching voters via LPFM to campaign for elected office and improve public policy through democracy in action.
Thank you.


Michael Smith

Pro-economic growth, pro-music, pro-science, pro-retirement.