We weren’t in the smoke then, but we are now, so there’s not much to shoot. Just something more to wear: a dust mask. Yesterday I picked up two of the few left at the nearest hardware store, and now I’m wearing one around the house. Since wildfire smoke is bad news for lungs, that seems like a good idea.
I’m also noticing dead air coming from radio stations whose transmitters have likely burned up. And websites that seem dead to the fire as well. Here’s a list of signals that I’m pretty sure is off the air right now. All their transmitters are within the Thomas Fire perimeter:
- KJAI/89.5 Ojai, which is (Pasadena-based) KPCC/89.3’s signal for Ventura County
- KJAI/89.5’s booster for Ventura
- KCSN/88.5’s booster for Ventura on 89.9
- KMRO/90.3 Camarillo
- KDSC/91.1, Thousand Oaks, the Ventura County transmitter for KUSC/91.5 from Los Angeles
- KOXZ-LP/93.3, Ventura
- KCAQ/95.9, Camarillo
- KLJR-FM1/96.7, the Ventura booster for KLJR in Santa Paula
- K251BI/99.7, the Ventura translator of KTYD/99.9 in Santa Barbara
- K272DI/102.3, the Ventura translator of KCRU/88.1, which is a mostly-simulcaster of KCRW/89.9 Santa Monica
- KOCP/104.7, Oxnard
- KFYV/105.5, Ojai, plus its booster for Ventura
- KRUZ/106.3, Ventura
- KSSC/107.1, Ventura
Some are on Red Mountain (on the west of Highway 33, which connects Ventura with Ojai); some are in the Ventura Hills; and some are on Sulphur Mountain, which is the high ridge on the south side of Ojai. One is on Santa Paula Mountain, with a backup on Red Mountain. (That’s KOCP. I don’t hear it, and normally do.)
In some cases I’m hearing a live signal but dead air. In others I’m hearing nothing at all. In still other cases I’m hearing something faint. And some signals are too small, directional or isolated for me to check from 30 miles (give or take) away. So, fact checking is welcome. There’s a chance some of these are on the air with lower power at temporary locations.
The links in the list above go to technical information for each station, including exact transmitter locations and facilities, rather than to the stations themselves. Here’s a short cut to those, from the great Radio-Locator.com.
Nearly all the Ventura area FM stations — KHAY, KRUZ, KFYV, KMLA, KCAQ , KMRO, KSSC and KOCP — have nothing about the fire on their websites. Kinda sad, that. I’ve only found only two local stations doing what they should be doing at times like this. One is KCLU/88.3, the public station in Thousand Oaks. KCLU also serves the South Coast with an AM and an FM signal in Santa Barbara. The other is KVTA/1590. The latter is almost inaudible here right now. I suppose that’s because of a power outage. Its transmitter, like those of the other two AM stations in town, is down in a flat area unlikely to burn.
KBBY, on Rincon Mountain (a bit west of Red Mountain, but in an evacuation area with reported spot fires), is still on the air. Its website also has no mention of the fire. Same with KHAY/100.7, on Red Mountain, which was off the air but is now back on. Likewise KMLA/103.7, licensed to El Rio but serving the Ventura area.
KXLM/102.9 which transmits from the flats, is on the air.