Plea bargain basement Gambling that a jury might be willing to hand down a lighter sentence, Reigh Ellis, 21, the former Butte College student convicted of killing a young man with a baseball bat, is attempting to change his plea in the last hours of his case.

Ellis had agreed, in a plea bargain orchestrated by his public defender, to charges of second-degree murder for bludgeoning a fellow Butte College student to death in February 2002. The racially charged case was entering the sentencing phase when Ellis made his request. If approved, Ellis may face a new trial on charges of first-degree murder and possibly other charges as well. If denied, his second-degree murder sentence is likely to be 15 years to life in prison.

The killing is said to have been prompted by a fight at a “Zoo” complex party. When a group of mostly white youths tracked Ellis, who is black, to a nearby apartment and threatened him using slurs, Ellis is said to have emerged with a baseball bat and, finding none of the assailants, engaged Butte College agricultural student Randal Clark, 21, fatally clubbing him about the head.

Can’t find nothin’ on the radio? The FCC ruled last week that media entities can now own more broadcast stations than before, even in the same, competing market.

Those who fear that rule changes will create media monopolies and stifle diverse voices have “a ludicrous argument,” offered Dino Corbin, general manager of the Chico-based Clear Channel stations.

“The notion that Clear Channel controls so much is such an absolute fallacy,” said Corbin, contending that the 10 percent of the radio controlled by his bosses barely makes a dent in the industry. No corporate bigwig tells him what to do, said local boy Corbin; all Clear Channel’s local stations—KPAY, KHSL, KMIX, KHSL, KEWE and KHHZ—have to do is protect the FCC license and serve the community. Without Clear Channel, Corbin said, diverse stations with Mexican and big-band formats wouldn’t even exist here.

Under former FCC deregulation, Clear Channel grew from about 40 stations to about 1,200 in just two years.

In case you missed it … Speaking of radio, those who missed the entertaining, on-air tongue-lashings of conservative radio talk show host Bruce Sessions (pictured) can again get their fix on KPAY 1290, where he previously hosted the popular Lifeline show for 10 years.

The largely listener-directed Morning Show, in which Sessions butts heads with liberal (“He claims to be a moderate”) Clark Michael, debuted in January. “It’s something new, and that’s what’s interesting about it,” said Sessions, 68, who “retired” in November 2001. That was when local offices were held by conservatives. “My work was done. All was right with the world,” he said. But then the Chico City Council was “taken over by liberals,” and Sessions figured he was needed. Plus, “I really got very bored. I was out playing golf an awful lot.”

Corbin, the station manager, said when he took over two years ago the station lacked the “characters” it had been known for. The Sessions-Michael match is proving a win for KPAY. “The phones stay lit up all time,” he said. The two even take on guests. “They have a tremendous amount of respect for each other.”