In the world of community radio, few figures shine as brightly as Jill Cody. As the host of “Be Bold America!” on KSQD (known affectionately as “K-Squid”), she embodies the spirit of intelligent and thought-provoking programming that engages listeners in critical conversations about ethical principles and functional systems in America. Beyond her radio presence, Jill’s life has been a journey marked by rich experiences in public service, academia, and activism.
KSQD, a nonprofit community radio station overseen by Natural Bridges Media, was established in 2019 with a mission to serve the local community by providing news, interviews, and music programming relevant to the region. From Classical and Jazz to Rock, Folk, and Bluegrass, the station’s diverse schedule caters to a wide audience. Jill’s show, “Be Bold America!” stands out as a staple of the station’s talk programming, offering a platform for discussions that envision an America with engaged citizens and functional systems. “Be Bold America!” is a live radio show but then it is pushed out to podcast platforms such as Apple, Google and Spotify. This past year, Jill’s listenership increased 213% and her podcast is now heard in ten countries.
However, the road to KSQD’s current success wasn’t without challenges. The original signal at 90.7 FM had limitations, failing to reach parts of Watsonville, Aptos, Monterey, Carmel, and Salinas. The Board of Directors, driven by the goal of expanding the broadcast region, recently achieved a significant milestone. With the generous support of community members and listeners contributing over $400,000, KSQD successfully purchased two additional radio licenses. This strategic move tripled the station’s audience reach, now potentially reaching 645,000 listeners from Santa Cruz to Monterey, Carmel, Salinas, and all points in between. The new frequencies, 89.7 FM and 89.5 FM, complement the original 90.7 FM signal in Santa Cruz, ensuring a more extensive and inclusive coverage.
As part of this expansion, KSQD plans to incorporate programs and hosts from Salinas, Monterey, Carmel, Seaside, Prunedale, and Watsonville. This move not only broadens the station’s reach but also enriches the content with diverse perspectives from different regions. Detailed information about the shows, suggestions for new programs, and live broadcasts are available on the station’s website, ksqd.org.
At the heart of KSQD’s success is Jill Cody, M.P.A., an accomplished author and political scientist. Her books, “America Abandoned: The Secret Coup That Cost Us Our Democracy” and the #1 Amazon bestseller “Climate Abandoned: We’re on the Endangered Species List,” tackle critical societal issues and provide actionable advice for readers. Jill’s expertise is grounded in a career that includes roles as the Chair of the Recreation and Tourism Department and Deputy Director of the School of Library Information Sciences at San Jose State University. She has also consulted in organizational development in Egypt, the Czech Republic, and the USA, holding senior positions with three San Francisco Bay Area municipalities.
Jill’s roots in California run deep, with a family history that weaves through the state’s landscapes and historical moments. As a fourth-generation Californian, she shares colorful family memories, such as her great-grandparents owning a boarding house and saloon in Tuolumne County near Yosemite. Her grandfather, born at a lumber mill in the Santa Cruz Mountains, later moved to Tuolumne, experiencing the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire from a distance. Jill’s connection to her family’s past adds a personal touch to her commitment to public service.
In addition to her radio work, Jill’s passion for addressing societal challenges is evident in her environmental activism. Trained personally by Vice President Al Gore and licensed to present his renowned slide presentation, “An Inconvenient Truth,” Jill became a dedicated advocate for raising awareness about the impending climate crisis. Her presentations to community groups and contributions to the anthology “Climate Abandoned” showcase her commitment to education and discussion on saving American democracy and restoring the climate for the future.
Jill and her husband, Jerry Grimes, found themselves drawn to Carmel after Jerry’s surgery necessitated a move to a one-story home. Their love for the coastal town is evident as they express joy in every minute of living there. Embracing the dog-friendly atmosphere of Carmel, the couple cherishes the unique experience of meeting people from around the world, sharing smiles and conversations in coffee houses, restaurants, and on the sidewalk. Jill encapsulates her approach to life with the motto: “Let your smile change the world but don’t let the world change your smile.”
In the world of community radio, Jill Cody stands as a beacon of dedication, passion, and service. Her contributions to KSQD and the broader discourse on America’s ethical principles and functional systems are a testament to the power of engaged citizenship and meaningful dialogue. As she continues to make waves in the pond of public service, Jill Cody reminds us all that even small pebbles can create ripples that extend far beyond their immediate impact. Tune in, online at ksqd.org, to catch “Be Bold America!” live every other Sunday at 5 pm, (or subscribe to her podcast for free) and experience the profound conversations that shape our understanding of democracy, climate, and community.