Michael Halloran, well-known local rock radio personality, filed an 281-page Informal Objection to the FCC license renewal of KSDS (FM) San Diego, a service of the San Diego Community College District. In his 281-page treatise, Halloran touched on several issues with the district’s management of the station:
- “KSDS’s failure to serve the needs and interests of the community is egregious…Absolutely no news or community-issue oriented programming is presented on the station.” He cites the station’s online public inspection file that he says has no “issues-programming lists.”
- The station, he said, loses money annually and is financially dependent on San Diego City College for funds that are not used for educational purposes.
- He repeatedly cites as an example of KSDS management neglect the continued employment of then Chief Engineer Gerald “Larry” Quick. Halloran says fellow employees had complained for years of behavioral issues and abuse. Quick resigned from KSDS in early 2016 after he was accused of theft of station equipment and spent time in jail.
I asked Mike Halloran about his Informal Objection:
What exactly are you trying to achieve?
MH: It’s pretty simple, really. Since the deregulation of radio, especially here in San Diego, we have been hit with major corporations that have skirted ownership limits for years mainly because of the Mexican stations and the proximity to Los Angeles.
Now, that debacle has somewhat settled down, so I feel that someone, some group, some college needs to step up and fill the massive void left by the complete absence of COMMUNITY radio. I remember when Jeff and Jer, the KGB, and the rest of San Diego radio wanted to be community-based.
Since leaving my last programming gig at 98.9 in Tijuana, I have been looking at the also-ran and ne’er do well stations that in all honesty could do a lot for the community. It became obvious to me that KSDS has been and continues to be the possible answer to the ills of the corporate ignorance of the once great San Diego radio dial.
Did you approach KSDS management with a proposal to take over the station? If so, what did you offer? How was your proposal received?
MH: I approached them almost two years ago in an effort to get a meeting, just to see where their heads were at, what their trip is, what are they down for, what are they thinking, and quite possibly trying to help them out of this money-losing, non-community based radio station they are currently operating. Then covid hit—WHAM!—they went into lock-down, turned the station into a pre-programmed jukebox that basically was a Spotify playlist devoid of any information about the community-based things they needed to do to help the community to which they are licensed. No info on covid testing [and no on] how to file for covid assistance for businesses or individuals.
Just a jukebox. La mesa protests? Nada. The subsequent skirmishes and semi-riotous events? Still NADA. Not one ounce of community from them. It’s shameful.
The FCC has not usually acted on similar informal objections. What would be your best-case scenario here?
MH: Best case is, they understand what needs to be done to actually serve the community. That’s why I originally contacted them.
Your Informal Objection accuses the KSDS governors of gross negligence with respect to internal management and service to the community. One would expect the KSDS governors to obstruct any further negotiations once the FCC published your charges against them. What do you expect or hope to happen next?
MH: Yes, it does. I stand by every word. It seems the Board, which controls the purse strings, cares not how much the station goes into debt, but I am pretty positive the tax-paying public will care. It’s up to them what happens next.