The dirt on KDRT

The airwaves belong to the people. At least that was the notion behind an FCC decision a few years back to allow licensing of small community radio stations. Since then, low-power FM stations like KDRT, which covers just the city of Davis, have sprung up to provide locally controlled alternatives to the vast slab of radio monotony that is the dial.

Unfortunately, those same FCC rules also make LPFM stations second-class citizens compared to their big commercial brothers. Several months ago, KDRT learned that full-power commercial station KMJE wants to take KDRT’s spot on the FM band.

KMJE bills itself as Sunny 101.5, features a John Tesh morning show, and plays that hard-to-find mix of Fergie, Maroon 5, Nickelback, etc., that the kids just can’t seem to get enough of. The Sunny people want to move their station from Gridley (in Butte County) to Woodland, which would basically force KDRT off the air.

So far, the FCC hasn’t granted KMJE’s bid to move stations, but it hasn’t denied it either. There are new rules being proposed at the FCC that would make it easier for LPFM stations that are the victims of this kind of commercial encroachment to find a new home, but that’s not a sure thing.

You can help KDRT stay on the air by showing up at the KDRT benefit concert this Saturday, January 26. The headliner is the Bill Scholer Blues Band with guest Barry “The Fish” Melton—former guitarist for Country Joe and the Fish, and the current public defender of Yolo County. The benefit will be held in the Odd Fellows Hall, 415 2nd Street in Davis. Show’s at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 or $10 for students. Go to for more information.