Sonoma County’s NPR Station Adding 104.9 FM
Northern California Public Media has agreed to buy a powerful local FM station to boost public broadcasting in Sonoma County. It has filed with the Federal Communications Commission to purchase KDHT-FM 104.9. Its signal reaches virtually all of Sonoma County plus northern Novato and western portions of Napa County.
Northern California Public Media has operated KRCB-FM on 91.1 FM since 1993. Its signal is difficult to hear in much of the county and could not be improved. “We’re pleased to be able to serve all of Sonoma County,” said Darren LaShelle, the nonprofit organization’s president and CEO. He continued, “This has been a goal of ours for a very long time. The stronger signal on 104.9 FM will feature more local news, NPR news, and locally hosted music shows.”
To prepare for this expansion, Northern California Public Media has expanded its staff, hiring former San Francisco news director and longtime Sonoma County resident Chris Lee as the station’s executive producer. Greta Mart, from KCBX in San Luis Obispo, will join as news director. Coming aboard as reporters are Marc Albert (North State Public Radio) and Tessa Paoli (Capitol Public Radio, KALW). The station is seeking community input on how to improve the station. An online questionnaire is posted at www.norcalpublicmedia.org/survey.
Amaturo Sonoma Media Group is the seller. "While we're saddened to part with such a fine station, placing it in hands of our public broadcasting peers at such a crucial time softens the blow,” said Michael O'Shea, ASMG President. The company also owns four other local radio stations: KSRO, Froggy 92.9, 97.7 The River, and Hot 101.7, as well as NorthBay Biz magazine.
Northern California Public Media also owns KRCB-TV and KPJK-TV, both noncommercial channels. The organization has a national reputation for producing programs that focus on environmental issues through the Center for Environmental Reporting, including the regional Bay Area Bountiful initiative, the national TV series Natural Heroes and the New Environmentalists, as well as the award- winning NPR/NorCal podcast Living Downstream.
Both parties have filed the transaction with the FCC; approval is expected in 10-12 weeks. Terms were not announced.
Cindy Corrello Hilke Northern California Public Media 510-461-61
What happened to KCSM TV?
The owner of KCSM TV, San Mateo Community College District, decided several years ago that they could no longer afford the maintain KCSM TV, the PBS station which had been serving San Mateo and the South Bay area for 50 some years.
KRCB TV, the public television station in the North Bay, submitted the winning bid to acquire the station. We felt that losing this public television station would be an unacceptable loss of a public asset which would probably never be re-gained. We are very happy that our bid prevailed.
KPJK TV signed on the air on July 31, 2018.
What is Northern California Public Media?
Now that KRCB and KPJK are sister stations – along with KRCB FM Radio 91 (NPR) – we have adopted the organizational name of Northern California Public Media as an “umbrella” name for this group of public stations serving Northern California.
What about KCSM-FM, the jazz station?
The College District did not sell the radio station and is still running that very popular jazz station.
What programming will be on the new channels?
Like KCSM, KPJK will provide programming on cable, on satellite, and over the air (with an antenna). The programming available will depend on how you receive your programming. Please visit this scheduling page to see the programming options available on KPJK TV and KRCB TV. Note that programming changes will occur over the next year as we add popular public television programs, international dramas, and local shows to serve the community.
How will KPJK be supported?
Like KCSM, KPJK will rely on financial support from individuals and businesses. Local support is critical to a strong public station.
Would you like to us to send you a programming guide?
Also, we can send a brief weekly email which lists the staffs’ recommendations on upcoming programming. You can join the email list by clicking here.