Mad River Union
EUREKA – Former KHSU volunteers, many still in mourning following the sudden dismantling of their beloved radio station, are now looking at alternative forms of community radio.
Five former KHSU volunteers attended the April 18 meeting of the KEET-TV Board of Directors and asked the PBS station to consider creating a community radio station.
KEET Executive Director David Gordon told the former volunteers that he wanted them to have an opportunity to talk to the board. As the future of local radio, Gordon said it was unknown.
“We don’t have any answers. Nobody does at this point,” Gordon said.
Emotions at the meeting were still raw, with KHSU having been gutted just a week before.
“My commentary is not about anger, though I’m very angry,” said Halimah Collingwood, who was a 30-year volunteer with KHSU, 27 of those putting on her music program Ethic Excursions. “I’m not here to talk about the devastation that the staff and the volunteers feel, but I’m very, very sad. I’m very upset with the way they we’ve been treated... the way they disrespected us.”
“Suddenly, it’s gone,” Collingwood said about KHSU.
Almost all of the station’s staff were abruptly laid off on April 11 and all of the volunteers were dismissed. The station now carries a feed from North State Radio out of Chico. Among the reasons given for the closure by HSU administrators was cost savings.
“This is the time for our community to get together,” said Collingwood, who suggested that KEET consider expanding into radio.
Former KHSU volunteer Kathleen Marshall echoed Collingwood’s concerns. “Obviously, I feel gutted,” Marshall said.
She also encouraged KEET to expand into radio.
“It’s a complicated process,” Marshall said. “It’s going to take a lot of money, a long time and a major commitment.”
Former KHSU DJ and volunteer Brian Curtis also supported the idea. “People are very eager to seek alternative homes and paths forward for the KHSU family and for continuing to have quality public radio on the North Coast.”
KEET Board President Paul McNally said the board would take the comments under consideration. “We too have been surprised, and maybe a better word is really shocked, at what has happened,” McNally said.
As the KEET directors were wrapping up their meeting April 18, a special program about the demise of KHSU was being livestreamed on YouTube. The show, North Coast Perspectives, was hosted by KEET and featured host James Falk talking with former KHSU Underwriter Coordinator Jeff DeMark, former KHSU volunteer Jana Kirk-Levine and longtime KHSU supporter Phil Ricord, who owns Wildberries Marketplace.