Freedom for KZFR

Alan Raetz is a Cohasset resident and graduate in biology

I’m glad to see the News & Review give coverage to KZFR ["KZFR: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” cover story, March 18], which is yet another thing that makes Chico a great place to live. I feel like every program I listen to on KZFR is a personal relationship with a unique individual. The programmers are there as volunteers, sharing their music and viewpoints out of love and generosity and in the process expanding the world of every listener. The diversity of people and programming is what makes KZFR great.

That KZFR needs to be more organized financially is clear from the article; that it needs to change its programming does not logically follow from this.

Did the loss of Leon Frazier [DJ Rubbaban] and Stephanie B. put KZFR on better financial ground? Did it help KZFR serve the community better? I’m thankful for the CN&R’s coverage of this, but in your previous article on the topic, the programming board chairman made it clear that hip-hop was not “the kind of thing we want to promote,” and Preston Powers’ comment in the March 18 article, “We have to be careful what gets aired. … I can just see Mom in her minivan driving the kids and trying to tune in KJOY when she comes across some hardcore rap song.”

Oh horrors! Would this scenario be any worse that when this mom flicks through the channels on her television? And what does this have to do with FCC regulations? I think you’re still allowed to offend people. And if you offend people simply by being black, or enjoying black culture, I think that’s their problem, not yours.

You can only conclude that the people who made this decision are—well, they think something is fundamentally wrong with black culture. What do you call that? I call that being xenophobic, small-minded and, yes, racist. Well, go ahead, be a racist (your free speech is protected, thankfully), just don’t tell me you’re doing me and KZFR a favor when you remove programs that offend you.

Anyone who goes to the FCC Web site and reviews its handling of listener complaints can see that the FCC (still) rules on these cases in favor of protecting free speech and very rarely fines stations or even more rarely revokes licenses. This is in cases where listener complaints have been filed. How many complaints were on file against Leon Frazier? Zero. I think KZFR is in far greater danger of having its FCC license revoked for its failure to serve the community.

I urge people to support diverse programming at KZFR by listening to the diversity that is still there (thank you!) at 90.1 FM and pledging money during their favorite programs.