[JPL] Jazz KSDS finally gets a boost
drjazz at drjazz.com
Wed Nov 8 23:41:18 EST 2006
Jazz KSDS finally gets a boost
By: RANDY DOTINGA - For the North County Times
If patience is a virtue, someone needs to nominate KSDS for sainthood.
For the past 12 years, KSDS/"Jazz 88" has been the little jazz station that
couldn't. Stuck in a cross-border dispute with a TV station, it couldn't
manage to get approval to give its signal a big-time boost.
If you've never heard of KSDS ---- home to traditional jazz, swing, big
band and blues ---- the weak signal probably has a lot to do with it.
The San Diego City College-based station has a small and dedicated audience
south of Interstate 8, but it's difficult to hear in many parts of North
Finally, that's about to change. After some goosing by local congressional
representatives, including North County's Darrell Issa, the Federal
Communications Commission finally got off the dime and approved KSDS'
By the end of March at the latest, the nonprofit KSDS hopes to buy about
$100,000 in equipment and increase its signal power from 3,000 to 22,000
watts. That should expand its reach to almost all of North County, not to
mention East County, the South Bay and downtown office buildings.
"It means better coverage everywhere," said station manager Mark DeBoskey.
"It means a real radio signal."
And for XETV/Channel 6, it means a big headache.
The station ---- which broadcasts in English to the United States from
Mexico ---- has spent years trying to kill off KSDS' plans.
The issue: KSDS' stronger signal may interfere with Channel 6's signal,
disrupting TV reception for people who live around the radio station's
transmitter at Mesa College in San Diego's Linda Vista neighborhood.
Through a quirk of radio waves, Channel 6 ---- and other stations in the
country that share that channel ---- broadcasts at 87.9 FM. KSDS' stronger
signal at 88.3 FM could potentially bleed over.
The FCC decision is "disappointing to us for sure," said Channel 6
operations director Bob Anderson. "The fact of the matter is, if we were
both FCC-licensed, we'd have the type of protection that would never allow
Under the law, U.S. and Mexican radio stations are protected from each
other, as are TV stations, Anderson said. But Mexican TV stations
apparently aren't protected from American radio stations.
People who live near the transmitter could see varying types of
interference, from snow on the screen to the faint sound of jazz music
creeping into Channel 6's audio, Anderson said. Even cable viewers could
KSDS' DeBoskey didn't want to talk much about Channel 6, but he did say the
law is on his station's side.
"We certainly want to be good neighbors and friends, but we need to take
care of ourselves now, and make sure as a public radio station that we get
the most extensive coverage."
What's next? DeBoskey said the stronger signal will attract "a whole
universe of people who are jazz fans in North County and good American
music fans who haven't been able to listen to the station, who are not
turned on to the radio station."
(To get an idea of what kind of music the station plays, here are a few
artists who got airplay on Monday morning: Duke Ellington, Frank Sinatra
and Sarah Vaughan, along with modern singers like Harry Connick Jr. and
A bigger fan base should also boost donations to KSDS, which relies heavily
on funding from listeners. DeBoskey's dream is to create an endowment that
would guarantee the survival of the radio station even during difficult
Meanwhile, the station will continue its outreach program, which brings
jazz education to 60 county schools.
"We're more than a jukebox," DeBoskey said. "We're a real public radio
station, of the people, by the people and for the people."
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