By Bob Dorn
Several hours into its maiden voyage yesterday, July 04, radio station KNSJ-fm, broadcasting live from Balboa Park’s World Beat Center was pleasantly interrupted by his honor, the Mayor of San Diego, Bob Filner, looking lean and I’m not saying mean, because he was among friends there. Real friends.
Floyd Morrow, former San Diego city council member and Marine who had promised the station Filner would show up, grabbed Filner in a hug. The mayor had no bodyguards hovering nearby nor tightsuits with clipboards and iPads in hand surrounding him, and he was relaxed.
Spontaneous hoots of encouragement echoed through the giant old water tank that Worldbeat Africanized and made its home decades ago, and which, for this Independence Day, was the broadcast studio of KNSJ.
Filner looked at Morrow as he spoke but addressed everyone in the room and on air, saying, “What we have to do, Floyd, we have to organize every day, we have to advocate, we have to go door to door to make sure we’re educating people … we need to be a part of 89.1 because (commercial radio) controls the air right now.”
The station’s major domo and founding father has called KNSJ “the Network for Social Justice since his first idea for a community station back in 1999.
Martin Eder and his wife made themselves felt worldwide when the two and and a handful of other East County residents lead a successful effort to block the private army of Blackwater from transforming a stretch of borderlands into a military training camp for mercenaries.
Eder has designs to grow KNSJ through allying it with local progressives and artists and citizen journalists who’ll share their products on air. To do that, the station meets every first and third Thursday every month at 4246 Wightman St. in City Heights, from 7 to 9 pm, where the interested can find a way to fit their messages to broadcast.
Eder was looking on Thursday, beaming, as station jock Enrique Morones tossed a question that allowed the mayor to unleash a cascade of talking points, most significantly starting with the management of San Diego by its traditionally heavy handed elites in land development and media, saying action “has to come from the bottom up … when people deal with a city council like ours they have to do it with information… the internet (and citizen journalists) can educate and bring people out.. we’re seeing this in Egypt… once you decide in your own head that you have power…”
He used his time to pitch his vision of a cross-border bid by Tijuana and San Diego to host the Olympics in the 20s, using the funding to establish mixed-use stadia and other infrastructural connections between the two cities. He said he wants every building to “be a power plant” and attacked SDG&E for fighting the inevitability of rooftop solar energy, and let his opponents know they were in for a fight.
“The strong mayor form of government was not intended to benefit progressives but, then, we’re here.”
It was short and sweet, and Filner ended it with that clean old activist exhortation, “Si, se puedes.”
Then Donna Frye showed up. She’s seen that the station received a healthy contribution from activist friends of hers.
Eder says the station has paid all but $20,000 of the costs of its FCC licensing, the building and installation of its antenna atop 6,200 feet high Monument Peak, and the purchase of its broadcast equipment. Donations are being taken at the knsj.org website.
Stay tuned, on the net and through the air, San Diego.