Far left, Board President Jeremy Garrett shares a moment with city of San Marcos Mayor Jane Hughson. Above, the heart of the station where broadcasters air their live shows. Left, the radio station is located at 216 N. Guadalupe St.
Daily Record photos by Barbara Audet
Above, the San Marcos Area Chamber of Commerce welcomes KZSM into the organization with a ribbon cutting on Thursday. Below, Station Manager Rob Roark discusses the changes for the station.
Daily Record photos by Jason Martinez, Barbara Audet
Community radio station broadens mission
In an era when the personal quality of local radio is on the decline, this city can boast that its volunteer-driven station, KZSM, is thriving with its studio in an older building right downtown.
On Thursday, board members, staff and representatives from the San Marcos Area Chamber of Commerce met in front of the radio station at 216. N. Guadalupe and cut a ribbon welcoming the station into the chamber family.
The station has a program schedule of approximately 21 live shows that speaks to the particular music and information that defines the city of San Marcos. With the shift to its new frequency of LP FM 104.1 as of Nov. 1, KZSM.org as a Federal Communications Commission-licensed low power station, it will now have a greater role to play in the communication’s profile of the community. As a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, the station may legally accept both corporate and individual underwriting–a status that bodes well for the future.
KZSM Board President Jeremy Garrett said that what the ribbon cutting represents–the cumulative changes expected for the station, is significant.
“Our big picture has been the benefit to our community. … It’s a good feeling,” Garrett said. For him as a listener, he said, “I believe in the free flow of information and the power of radio, so personally, this is something I want to do for many years in San Marcos. Everybody in this organization has worked hard to do this and it is about leaving the legacy for our town that future generations can use and enjoy, too.
“People can downplay radio all they want, it’s still there,” Garrett said, adding that younger generations may learn to appreciate it more, now that its presence is expanding in the city once again.
City of San Marcos Mayor Jane Hughson was also on hand for the ceremony, acknowledging the official role the government played in turning over the license to the non-profit.
“This is huge. I remember when we had a radio station years ago and there are reasons why we don’t anymore,” she said. “It’s one thing that everyone can have access to, if they choose.”
What is evident about the radio station today and looking to the new frequency shift at the end of October is that it will serve both a general population and students at Texas State University, becoming a lifeline in the advent of a crisis or emergency that would require immediate access to news by the public.
Station Manager Rob Roark said, “We have been on air for seven years. About nine years [in getting established], because it took us two years to get up and going when we first started. I’m one of the original folks–we climbed up on the roof to put up the antenna in the middle of the summer.
“Long and short, we’ve been up and down, rocky road, but the city, at the end of last year signed over their license to us. We took it over. We had to change our frequency because … we were in conflict with someone else. We’ve got all the FCC approvals,” he said.
“We’re ready to go,” he said. “For us to eke out that little bit of the bandwidth, just to be able to have that frequency for us here, is monumental. For us to have this concept that anyone can come in and have this radio show for one to two hours, just as long as you entertain, enlighten and engage–that’s our mission. To build community here in San Marcos,” he said.
The program schedule is available at KZSM.org.