KSAP: The Breeze

KSAP with Port Arthur schoolkids

A lot of LPFMs have an open-door policy, but Port Arthur's KSAP-LP takes it to the next level. How? "We don't have a door!" Laughed the station manager. Steven Mosely has worked at an area oil refinery for thirty-five years and been KSAP's station manager for six. Nicknamed The Flash, he manages everything KSAP-related. He is also one of the board members of the Truth and Education Corporation, KSAP's LPFM licenseholder.

The FCC granted the Truth and Education corporation, headed by Mosely, its LPFM license in 2005. The group built its station and was ready to go -- until a hurricane flooded them out. The City Council offered KSAP City Hall space. It could stay until 2013, when it could occupy the old fire station the city was replacing. The city's only initial caveat was that KSAP keep the community involved in its activities.

In a city where 25% of the population is under the poverty line, KSAP does what it can to serve everyone. Community members often turn to KSAP to broadcast obituaries for free, which the local newspaper charges fifty dollars to publish. Unemployment is a huge issue, and KSAP has hosted many shows with industry leaders. After Moseley opened up a 2008 show with an oil refinery official to callers, several brought up the refinery's hiring non-local workers. Soon after, the city said it would let KSAP relocate to the City Hall basement, if Mosely agreed to have no "political programming," including airing constituents' opinions. Mosely refused. Some community leaders called the station an enemy to business, and the council voted to evict KSAP.

Though the City Council supported community involvement with the station, it "forgot that the public had a right to call in and ask questions," said Mosely. KSAP went off-air for ten months looking for a new home, almost losing its license. Eventually, the station triumphed! Now it broadcasts from a building abandoned for twenty-five years before Mosely and his coworkers got  it. The city wouldn't repair it, so KSAP volunteers fixed it up themselves. In two months, their hard work turned a former funeral home's storage area into a welcoming lobby and recording studio.

Though the station is small, with only eight consistent volunteers, it stays connected with its community in many ways. KSAP is a strong voice for Port Arthur news. In the interest of keeping their community safe, station volunteers made sure to broadcast FEMA's decision to call continued use of its emergency relief trailers squatting. The community response was one of relieved appreciation: "We could have been serving time, because this is illegal!"

On KSAP's "Health Watch," area doctors talk about common health issues, and local business owners come in for the "Small Business Report." The station serves Port Arthur's big minority and immigrant communities with culturally-focused programs. The station also has a history program that's featured former Buffalo soldiers, and one volunteer hosts "Trade Winds of the Ancestors," which brings an Afro-centric approach to building bridges for the future. With the "Beautification Committee Report," community members can get involved in planting trees, and weekend cleanups in the Port Arthur area.

Of KSAP's civic involvement, Mosely said, "Lots of people call us before they call their councilperson!" The station does a lot to help folks stay abreast of local politics. KSAP is involved in voter training, and explaining how to use new voting machines. They've given politicians, as well as local businesspeople, time on their programs to get in touch with constituents and consumers.

KSAP has also had trouble deciding how and when to reach out. Because it's a small station, Mosely has had to make tough choices to avoid over-taxing his coworkers. Still, of outreach, he says, "When we can, we do." The station has intensive formal broadcast training for local youth. Mosely has also contacted many local unions, and hopes they will one day take advantage of KSAP as a "profound way to get the message out." When asked what he would say to those looking to start their own stations, Mosely reflected a moment before replying,

"If you're really interested in [starting a station], be sure you're committed for the right reasons. It's not about money, it's not about fame. It's about the public trust. It's tough, it's enjoyable, and it means something to the people who listen to you if you're genuine, so be for real."

If anyone is committed to low-power broadcasting, it's surely Mosely and his fellow employees. They plan on continuing to keep their community informed and aware for years to come.


 Thanks to Lucy Saunders-Pappentick for putting together this profile.