from - PASSING THRU
BY John Rook
As the broadcast licensee of KCDA, I was first in the entire northwest to introduce satellite fed programming to radio stations. The Transtar network was attempting to complete with the much larger Satellite radio network, so we were a prized addition to that fledgling company operating out of Colorado Springs. I think it took only a few days before it was obvious stronger air talent was available via satellite, than I could attempt to mold myself. Even with my nationally recognized expertise in creating programming, I found myself faced with obstacles that would speed my decision to go satellite.
My partner, Luke Williams, was a pillar in the Spokane community. As a pioneer and founder of American Sign, a forerunner of electronic billboards, Luke was a staunch Christian conservative who matched my financial stake in creating our broadcast company. I liked Luke, a good partner and a good friend. Watching me work for the first few weeks, he tipped, �John, you�re too fast for the class�. Luke�s advice was invaluable and introduction to his friends even more so.
I was surprised when the publisher of the nearby Spokane Spokesman-Review, Bill Cowles, invited me to lunch, applauded my stance in providing issues important to the public, directed KCDA be awarded an annual advertising contract from his newspaper and invited me to join their advisory board.
To my way of thinking, satellite fed and local programming were compatible. We proved it when KCDA became far and away the top rated radio station in North Idaho, including the competition from nearby Spokane. Our little baby fm, with a lesser signal than the giant 100,000 watt Haga-fm, had three times the amount of listeners.
I personally manned our KCDA booth�s at the county fairs in North Idaho and Spokane and attended the various gatherings to enlist listener comments. Not once did anyone seem to recognize our disc jockeys were not local. Transtar used our station as a model for clients considering a move to satellite programming.
Mathew Rook & Garth Brooks
Our Real Country brought out friend Garth Brooks, who took time to furnish grandson Mathew Rook with a great "show and tell" at school.
I was able to purchase Luke�s share of the company and became sole owner of KCDA. I joined in adding a new FM radio station to Casper, Wyoming.
I also built new radio stations, KEYF in Spokane & KEYW in Pasco, Washington as I began to establish my �Key chain� of stations. I also arranged to add three additional fm stations in the Spokane market in anticipation of congressional action deregulating broadcast ownership rules. I unveiled a previously unavailable format with Spokane�s Z-Rock and KCDA�s �Real Country�.
I personally had reservations about a congress accepting millions of dollars from industry contributors to open the floodgates of media monopolization. Control of thought and mind is essential to control of the masses. I already had witnessed a controlled press in North Idaho, where prior to KCDA most seldom heard the pro�s and con�s of an issue from the Haga-Media. I spoke out often but deregulation was already a done deal, made in the back rooms of Washington D. C.
Deregulation of the media was even more destructive than I predicted. Perhaps it would have been best if regulators had not allowed the gang rape that resulted. A feeding frenzy of unethical, illegal actions by public company�s who could afford banks of lawyers to devour anyone offering competition. Within days of congressional passage the nations media was divided up among three controlling billionaires.
In Spokane, they actually combined their group to total more than a dozen radio stations in one sales package. Three big public companies began acting as one to drive competition out of business. Anti trust laws were clearly broken with the Federal Department of Justice agreeing to follow my civil anti trust suit with one of their own.
Five years later I was out of business, broke from legal fee�s. While the giant publicly traded companies split their legal expense, I was all alone. The Department of Justice delivered a slap on the wrist to the defendant, for a promise they break up the Spokane monopoly.
My stations were divided up among the victors. The system clearly didn't work for the small broadcaster relying on regulatory agencies to police the law. I learned big business and politicians are in the same bed. I also learned regulatory agencies were controlled by politics...not justice.
No longer is a report card needed for being a licensee. The broadcast industry is selling smut and indecency enough that a senate subcommittee is now taking action. Deregulation of broadcasting is under review. That of which I have long complained is now being considered.
Thanks to two democrat FCC commissioners the heat has been turned on the media monopoly's that's killed the smaller radio group owner. .
My favorite escape has always been the beaches of the Pacific. A close second would have to be riding the trails and fishing the streams of north Idaho. I awake every morning in deep appreciation of my "little sliver of paradise", hidden from the harshness of the real world.
John & Missy
John fishin' the St. Joe river
Sister Dottie would come to live with me on the ranch, where her "woman's touch" made quite a difference in many area's. Retirement for both of us has been mostly enjoyable with our dogs, cats and horses allowing us to live with them.
Dottie with Topper & Lilly
Following a lifetime of severe back and leg pain, I finally found relief in revolutionary new laser surgery. For the first time in four decades, I no longer require medication to control the pain. I have no pain at all.
That move to north Idaho more than twenty years ago provided me with many experiences. The southern California I loved in the past is no more, I have little need to return there...the change is too much to bare. Life here in "gods country" is bout' as good as it gets.
All Content on this Web site � 2006 John H. Rook
All Rights Reserved
All Content on this Web
site � 2005 John H. Rook
All Rights Reserved