Capital Public Radio may shrink

A piece of Capital Public Radio’s broadcast empire is up for grabs because of a decision by the University of the Pacific in Stockton to end its contract with the network and sell its radio license.

Capital Public Radio (CPR) is based in Sacramento and also runs the public radio stations licensed to California State University, Sacramento. Aside from the Stockton and Sacramento stations KXJZ (88.9) and KXPR (90.9), the group also runs stations in Groveland, Tahoe, Sutter and Quincy. Although the stations are licensed to universities, they are hardly college radio stations. Students and volunteers haven’t been involved in programming for years, and the stations are mostly vehicles for public broadcast networks like National Public Radio and Public Radio International.

CPR chief Mike Lazar said that he tried to negotiate privately with the university to buy the station outright but was rebuffed. “It was disappointing. We think we’ve been a good steward of the license these last five years,” Lazar told SN&R.

CPR’s contract allows it to match any bid from another outfit, but Lazar said CPR has yet to decide whether to make an offer. The license is required by the Federal Communications Commission to remain in noncommercial programming, but such licenses aren’t extremely expensive and hard to come by and can be highly profitable. The license for KUOP is estimated to be worth from $2 million to $5 million. With KUOP’s license up for grabs, a religious broadcaster may bid for it, as may CPR’s Northern California competitor, KQED.

Peace activists have reservations about Radisson

Local anti-war groups have targeted the Sacramento Radisson Hotel, accusing the upscale lodger of “war profiteering.”

The groups Veterans for Peace, Military Families Speak Out and Iraq Veterans Against the War held a protest outside the hotel last Saturday, decrying the company’s contract to provide hotel rooms for new recruits on their way to the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) on Northgate Boulevard. The hotel is the last stop for many new recruits from all over California, Nevada and parts of Oregon before they report for duty. (See “Hell no, they won’t go,” SN&R News, June 30.)

The protesters read the names of 33 soldiers killed in Iraq who they say passed through the Radisson in Sacramento on their way to the MEPS.

After the protest, Vietnam vet and former Green Party senatorial candidate Pat Driscoll found that one of his truck tires had been slashed. “It looked like somebody had used a knife. It was right in the sidewall, obviously not something I had run over,” he said.

Veterans For Peace plans to continue protesting the Radisson, according to a statement, until the hotel “agrees to stop profiting from the deaths of U.S. troops in Iraq.” The group is considering expanding its protests to include other Radisson Hotels in the state. The Sacramento Radisson’s general manager, Don Corbosiero, rejected the label “war profiteer,” noting that recruitment has gone down since the war began. “We’re not filling as many rooms,” he said.

Sheehan returns

Slashed tires presumably won’t be a problem for Cindy Sheehan, when she speaks at UC Davis on Monday.

Sheehan, whose son Casey was killed in Iraq in 2004, went to Crawford, Texas, this summer to demand a meeting with George W. Bush and the opportunity to ask the president what “noble cause” her son died for. The Vacaville woman never got her meeting, but she inspired hundreds of supporters (and detractors alike) to join her in the Texas heat just outside the Bush family’s ranch for the duration of the president’s summer vacation. The event will be in the UC Davis’ Freeborn Hall at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $10, or $5 for students. Proceeds go to benefit Gold Star Families for Peace.