Pescadero Public Radio Service was founded in 1994 in order to develop a community-based radio station for Pescadero and outlying communities. The story of PPRS and KPDO was written by Celeste Worden, who was substitute teacher for the language arts students of Pescadero Middle School. Celeste explains she was having great difficulty getting her students to write even the most basic assignments until she had an idea...
“…As we topped the rise of the bridge, the Bay clear of fog in the distance, my son and I literally fighting over the push-button radio controls, I had an epiphany: if this is what they want, even my own literate and intelligent son, then I would find a way to make it work for me… in my
We would make a mock station, complete with station staffing, program hour, DJ’s, sales creatures, the works. The kids would develop their program philosophy, target market, write copy, select music, determine advertising prices and guidelines: the works, just like real people.
I knew I had a hit and set about writing down as many of the details as I could imagine for Monday’s presentation to the class. And they went for it, lock stock and microphone. We began immediately: I divided the class according to their interests into Programming, Sales, and Technical staff. They chose a Station Manager, who took himself very seriously right out the gate. I outlined the concept of a ‘program hour’: we had to decide how many minutes were devoted to music, news and advertising. […]
Now Programming had to decide what they were going to play. Pescadero is a mostly rural community with a large Hispanic population, hence the bi-lingual emphasis of our programming. But there was the Rap thing, and then the Country thing, and there were a few Alternative Rockers and Metal Heads in the group as well.
Now came the biggest carrot I could have found. I made a phone call one day to a young Hispanic jockey at the biggest Rap station in the Bay Area, Chui Gomez, knowing that he was the closest thing to a “Hero” my students had. Relaying the events of the past few weeks, and my history in radio, I begged him to come all the way to Pescadero and listen to the kids’ work. He agreed, without hesitation, and earned my eternal gratitude and respect.
[…]Chui Gomez was expected within the next 15 minutes. They were as nervous as newlyweds. When he arrived, they couldn’t even speak, but just stared as this star, this 30-something, scruffy-faced, round-bellied homeboy who had driven more than 2 hours to listen to their radio broadcast.
And he did. He listened without interrupting for the first 20 minutes, then stopped the tape.
“Who wrote this copy,” he asked.
I pointed to the kids, looking strangely tongue-tied.
He looked at them and asked again, “Who wrote this copy?”
“They did, the students,” I answered, proudly.
He paused, looking from me to them, and finally said, “That’s some of the best copywriting I’ve ever heard.”
I swear, a nuclear bomb could have gone off and they wouldn’t have budged.
On February 23, 2010, in an emergency meeting of the PPRS board, Daniel Roberts of Pirate Cat Radio was offered the newly created board position of Station Manager for KPDO…I look forward to the successful flowering of a lifelong dream: a station that gives purpose and voice to the youth of Pescadero and beyond, that supports the migrant workers who toil in the fields of California’s coastline and for whom radio is a vital lifeline, and that provides access to the people of Pescadero to a community-building medium of exchange for the free flow of ideas and culture.”
The complete story is here: