Contra Costa Today Ep 016: Controversy at KLSN 92.9 FM

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On this episode, we talk the controversy regarding community radio station KLSN 92.9 FM with Gary Arfsten and Tony Van Goor who were part of an original group that applied and received the Construction Permit from the FCC.

They say the station was stolen out from under them after a brokered deal between Delta Breeze Broadcasting and the Friends of Oakley.

It involved local politicians Assemblyman Jim Frazier, Oakley Councilman Kevin Romick and recently news media involved Antioch Mayor Sean Wright potentially brokering an illegal antenna placement in the City of Antioch.

  • 01:00 – Tony Van Goor explains the background of how he worked to bring community radio to the Brentwood, Oakley and Discovery Bay Area under President Barack Obama’s Local Community Radio Act of 2010.
  • 02:46 – Van Goor explains how the non-profit Delta Breeze Broadcasting was created so they could put together a business plan and develop what the radio station would look like.
  • 04:00 – Van Goor highlights how a non-profit who wanted a radio station needed to be in existence for two years. Delta Breeze Broadcasting did not meet that requirement so with the help of Assemblyman Jim Frazier, he networked a deal where The Friends of Oakley would hold the license for 2-years, then hand it back to Delta Breeze Broadcasting.
  • 05:00 – Tony notes that Delta Breeze Broadcasting became an organization in 2014 and even had an agreement with the Liberty Union High School District—even had an agreement to put an antenna on Freedom High School’s campus. Would have served Brentwood, Discovery Bay & Oakley
  • 07:28 – Gary Arfsten explained how after the agreement with the school district, Bill Woods who also served as a board member under Delta Breeze Broadcasting asked Chris Ponsano to cease and desist representing the radio station because of how he was marketing the station to the community. Explain how the radio station was never meant to make money, but rather serve the community as a non-profit.
  • 08:51 – KLSN’s mission began to change under the Friends of Oakley which was not the approved plan by the FCC. Arfsten says at that point Chris Ponsano was made the project manager.
  • 11:45 – Van Goor highlights they were about 2-weeks away from launching back in 2014. Instead, it took two additional years. The Friends of Oakley at that point decided to ask Van Goor to step away after Van Goor had volunteers his own time and money. 15:00 – Friends of Oakley asked Van Goor to turn over all his resources through a letter and said he was out.
  • 16:25 – Van Goor highlights how his goal was to allow the community to have a voice in real time offering a variety of different types of programing. Arfsten says the radio station was stolen from them.
  • 17:30 – In the last fee weeks, allegations of mismanagement and illegal antenna placement have popped up along with failure to open up books upon request. Noted how Antioch Mayor Sean Wright and Oakley City Councilman Kevin Romick are possibility involved possibly.
  • 19:00 – Arfsten calls for an investigation into Antioch Mayor Sean Wright, Oakley Councilman Kevin Romick in the planning process and looking into corrupt dealings.
  • 19:34 – Van Goor seeks Investigation into KLSN and how its being managed because its not what was originally designed to be under the application to the FCCC for the license as a non-profit. But rather turned into a “commercial” station without community voices.
  • 22:15 – Arfsten explains how under Pansano, there is no plans to have Hispanic programming on the station which is going against everything Delta Breeze Broadcast had planned.
  • 24:50 – Burkholder explains his conversation with Sean Wright who confirmed no handshake deal with Pansano occurred in regard to the antenna placement. Wright simply forwarded on a request to City legal who told the Mayor there is nothing they could do to assist and to stay out of the issue. Pansano stated disgruntled employees are spreading false information to the media.

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