5 Questions: KSRO’s 75th anniversary
By MELODY KARPINSKI / Santa Rosa Correspondent
Longtime Santa Rosa radio station KSRO celebrated their 75th anniversary September 21.
Opening on September 21, 1937, KSRO was Sonoma County’s first local station. Over 750 people attended the station’s formal dedication, which was “hailed as the most important addition to the community in years,” according to a 1937 Press Democrat article.
We had a chance to catch up with KSRO afternoon news host Michelle Marques to chat about the station’s history and meaningful anniversary.
What does this anniversary mean for the station and the community?
Hitting a milestone like 75 years is a really significant accomplishment for a radio station. It affirms the importance of KSRO as a community resource. We’ve been here to entertain, to educate, to argue important topics and to be a friend to the people of the North Bay. Listeners have a real personal relationship with the on air hosts on KSRO, as we see when we take the station out to events around Sonoma County. Our listeners feel like they know us, and trust us to share their thoughts and hopes. We are sincerely thankful for this privilege.
KSRO has been called the “Voice of the Redwood Empire.” How has this guided the station’s philosophy and coverage?
As “The News and Talk of Sonoma County,” we are the trusted source for news that relates to Sonoma County and the North Bay. KSRO can cover issues that are important to people in Sonoma County with a focus that is often lacking in other Bay Area media outlets. While only major stories from Sonoma County may show up on the San Francisco talk radio outlets, KSRO makes it a priority to report the news of Sonoma County with depth and understanding of what is important to its citizens.
KSRO is one of the last privately owned stations in the area -what does this mean to you?
KSRO has been a privately owned radio station since our first day on the air in 1937. Our content is up to us, not dictated to us from “on high” as can happen in publicly traded companies. KSRO is intensely local with reporters, news anchors and managers who live here in Sonoma County. The sense of being rooted in Sonoma County is very clear with KSRO.
What are your current broadcasting numbers? How many people are tuning in?
KSRO has a listening audience of 28,000 with an additional 12,000 streaming at ksro.com online.
What stories do you think have been KSRO’s top three broadcasts over the past 75 years?
Our top three stories have been the Ramon Salcido murder rampage in 1989, in which KSRO offered complete coverage of the case as it developed. We had reports coming in from the police and sheriff’s departments all day long as the bodies of Salcido’s victims were discovered, as well as calls from Sonoma County families and residents impacted by the tragedy.
KSRO’s coverage of the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989 was also extensive, with damage updates, reports on the deaths from the quake, and news from public utilities and government officials.
Finally, KSRO’s coverage of the New Year’s 2006 flooding was exemplary. On Saturday, December 31st, 2005 KSRO cleared out all regular programming to run traffic and flooding updates all day long, anchored by everyone on staff, as well as reporters in the field. I personally came in to give traffic updates and road closures due to flooding for five hours that day. Listeners gave KSRO high praise for being a trusted resource when they needed us most.
To view a timeline of KSRO’s history, visit the anniversary page on the website here.