Local public radio station boosts signal

Grays Harbor non-profit community radio station KGHI has enhanced its ability to reach listeners nearly all the way to Olympia.

“We now have a translator based in Elma,” said Grays Harbor College history instructor Gary Murrell, president of the Grays Harbor Institute, which secured the FCC license, equipment, grant money and contributions to launch the all-volunteer station.

With the new translator, a broadcast transmitter that repeats or transponds the signal from one station to the other, East County listeners can receive the station at 89.1 on the FM dial, where it officially is listed as KGHE.

That provides coverage over virtually all of Grays Harbor, including Central Park, Montesano, Elma, Oakville, McCleary, Malone and into Thurston County.

“We were able to do that because of donors,” Murrell said. “They gave us the money to allow us to build the translator.”

KGHI began broadcasting at its main signal location, 91.5 FM, in March 2011, with news and talk show programming that leans left politically, and classical music. Programming is “designed to educate, inform and entertain in a manner that helps promote democratic ideals consistent with ending poverty, racism and advancing human, worker, environmental, civil, social justice, educational and health rights,” according to the station’s mission statement.

Programs range from “National Native News” and “Working Family Radio” to the “Metropolitan Opera Live” or the locally produced “Harbor Sounds” hosted by Jeffery Freed, featuring local Harborites making, teaching or playing classical music.

The new equipment to expand the station’s reach was installed in a donated space in Elma, and Murrell explains that the operation gets no government money.

“I know a lot people seem to think that public radio is flush with money. We haven’t gotten a cent from government, and that’s how we’ve been operating,” Murrell said.

In addition to an array of national and international programming, the station carries several locally produced programs. The first one was a local sports program, “The Scrimmage,” where Daniel Hargrove and some friends chat about sports news and developments.

“I don’t listen to sports anywhere,” Murrell said. “But I will turn their program on because they are very funny. They are just having a great time.” The show is on every Monday morning at 7:30.

Another local program is called “The Convergence Zone,” from 2-4 p.m. on Saturdays. Robert Pitzer is a classical musician who each week picks a different theme to feature on the show that mostly focuses on jazz.

For more information, visit the station’s website, www.kghifm.org.


The radio station began as an extension of the Institute, which has brought a number of prominent guest speakers to the area.

The non-profit group has sponsored speakers such as Irish-American political journalist Alexander Cockburn, actor/activist Mike Farrell, activist/author Angela Davis, former presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, and commentator Melissa Harris-Perry to the Harbor.

On Friday, Sept. 7, the Institute will bring in another guest speaker, Michael Parenti, a noted political writer, historian, and culture critic who has taught at American and international universities.

“He is an internationally known award-winning author and political scientist,” Murrell said.

His best known book is “Democracy for the Few,” which Murrell said “takes apart the government and examines it and asks, who does this benefit?”

“It’s a great book and I use it in class a lot,” Murrell said. Parenti will discuss “democracy and the pathology of wealth.”

Parenti will speak at 7 p.m. Friday at the Polish Club in Aberdeen, and tickets are $15 at the door.

The Institute’s website is http://ghinstitute.org