KZFR: Keeping it real

Paul O’Rourke-Babb is a local nurse practitioner, writer and outgoing chairman of KZFR’s board of directors

The CN&R March 18 cover story [”KZFR: The good, the bad and the ugly"] was discussed by the 45 people at KZFR’s most recent all-station meeting. Feedback generally was that the article reflected well some of the issues at the station and perhaps understated the support also present at the station.

Alan Raetz’s guest comment [”Freedom for KZFR,” April 15] made assertions about the loss of programming provided by DJ Rubbaban (Leon Frazier) and Stephanie B (Stephanie Bravo) which are incorrect. Stephanie chose to leave the station because of conflicts related to a time change request for her show and her perception of the reasons behind the request. Programming time changes are part of any station’s necessary work and have been made since the inception of KZFR. Leon left after ongoing frustration with stipulations concerning the content and language in some parts of his shows.

This content and language dilemma had been addressed by him and several KZFR boards and program councils over the years. This dilemma is frequently resolved by other community radio stations by placing so-called objectionable programming in late-night programming. No decision was made by the Program Council to remove either Stephanie or Leon.

Decisions by the FCC regarding offensive (permitted), indecent (prohibited) and obscene (prohibited) broadcasting are capricious and generative of a double standard that says if you can pay the tens of thousands of dollars in violation fines you can broadcast whatever you want. KZFR’s Mission Statement to “foster understanding” and “promote study of … the causes of antagonisms” as well as its small community-provided budget require it to err on the safe side of this issue.

I’m troubled by Mr. Raetz’s linkage of the rejection of violence within hip-hop and rap with xenophobia and racism. That would make Gil-Scott Heron, a black poet songwriter—and many others—racist. KZFR’s 24­7 programming (85 percent music, 8 percent local news/information, 7 percent syndicated news) reflects African-American, Asian, Hispanic, American Indian and Anglo culture in many expressions.

I’m in agreement with his promotion of listening and pledging money to kick this local jewel up into the next level. More well-known, more active, more good sounds, more "keepin’ it on the real" community radio.