KSCO Georgia Peach Santa Cruz radio
News

KSCO’s Georgia Peach Sounding Off on “White Genocide”

Michael Zwerling, the station’s owner, cites free speech in defending the host

Radio station KSCO (1080 AM), next to Corcoran Lagoon on Portola Drive, is losing about $40,000 a month, according to station owner Michael Zwerling. PHOTO: JACOB PIERCE

By Mat Weir and Jacob Pierce

Last month’s revelations of O’mei owner Roger Grigsby’s support for former KKK leader David Duke sent a chill down the spines of the Chinese restaurant’s biggest fans. Even more so, the news seemed to be a wake-up call to many stunned locals that the kind of racist politics seen in Charlottesville could exist here, within the liberal bubble of Santa Cruz.

After all, there aren’t many places boasting more fading Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders bumper stickers than decidedly left-leaning Santa Cruz, and according to voter registrations, our enclave is the third-most Democrat and the fourth-least Republican county in California. But financial support for the U.S. Senate campaign of outspoken racist Duke crossed a line that filled locals of all political persuasions with a boiling anger that soon exploded on social media.

Talk of an organized boycott had barely begun to foment before the restaurant’s wait staff apparently walked out—according to an interview Grigsby gave to the Santa Cruz Sentinel—prompting the restaurant to shut down suddenly, and the city to heave a collective sigh of relief. After all, white supremacy isn’t something that is tolerated in this city, right?

But for all of the outrage directed at Grigsby, there is another high-profile local who regularly spews Duke-like views that many would find just as morally repugnant—one who seems to have so far been immune from the same massive backlash that shut down O’Mei.

And no one has to go digging through public records to find her.

That’s local KSCO talk show host Georgia “Peach” Beardslee, who routinely asks questions, like “Why is it that only black people loot in a crisis?”—as she did shortly after Hurricane Harvey on Wednesday, Aug. 30. During that same broadcast, she compared Santa Cruz’s Beach Flats community, a predominantly Latino, low-income neighborhood, to a “third-world country.” She accused Santa Cruz’s entire city government of being run by communists and wished UCSC a “nasty, fast death” for being a “communist school.”

She opened the show by decrying a “white genocide” that she claims many Americans have been simultaneously ignoring and perpetuating.

“Some of you don’t care about your future, the future of your children, the future of this country,” she mused in her opening remarks that afternoon, particularly upset over O’mei’s closure. “Our president is fighting these battles every day, and all you do is demonize him. You don’t seem to care that white people are being replaced. After all, we’re all Americans, so it doesn’t matter that other races will dominate this country built by white Europeans. Everything you enjoy in this world was given to you by the whites, starting with the light bulb. But let’s not honor that. Let’s get rid of that, along with all the statues and monuments that represent white history. In the future, no one will ever know whites walked the earth. And you defend this? You people of other ethnicities defend this because you feel victimized for being born in poor countries, so everything is owed to you? Why don’t you stay or go to your own countries and make them great, instead of sucking off the American people and their hard work, while you turn your country into a third-world hell hole, like the one you ran from.”

Michael Zwerling, owner of right-leaning KSCO (1080 AM), says he sees no problem with Beardslee’s broadcasts, declining to get into the specifics and deferring instead to the Constitution’s First Amendment protections. “Who’s going to be the arbiter of what’s acceptable speech?” he asks.

Columnist Bruce Bratton, who Beardslee calls part of “the Santa Cruz media wing of Antifa,” had never listened to the twice-weekly broadcast before GT called him up. After hearing her Aug. 30 show, Bratton felt troubled—not so much by her personal attacks, as by the worldview that she’s sharing with listeners around the Monterey Bay. “Good Lordy, Lordy,” he says.

“The ethnic-racial divide is something that she’s perpetuating over and over and over again, and talking about how David Duke is such a wonderful-thinking person. And this is someone who is anti-Catholic and anti-Jewish, and was the leader of the Ku Klux Klan. When she stands up for someone like David Duke, that’s really something,” Bratton says.

In the age of fake news, Beardslee and her colleagues have earned a reputation for playing fast and loose with the facts. While defending Duke’s talk of white separatism, for example, she could not say what position the former Klan leader had been running for, just “some seat in the government.” (He was running for the U.S. Senate in Louisiana.) Her co-host Sam Quinten claimed later that week that Grigsby’s donation was made “many, many years ago.” (It was actually made in August of 2016.) Beardslee spreads falsehoods about everything from the history of slavery in America to the antifascist movement.

Zwerling says the station, where all shows are archived on KSCO.com, and its staff don’t have time to fact-check everything, and errors are bound to slip through. Although Beardslee’s critics see something more toxic, Zwerling thinks certain talk shows should not be taken as news commentary, but instead as opinion, like Rush Limbaugh—a format bordering closer to pure entertainment, he says.

Zwerling says he actually used to be friends with Grigsby, before eventually blocking Grigsby’s phone number after an inundation of messages from the O’mei owner linking to anti-Jewish literature. Zwerling, who’s Jewish himself, says he couldn’t maintain the friendship, and he admits it may sound puzzling that he would go out of his way to defend Grigsby, as he’s done—especially given the restaurateur support for Duke, a Holocaust denier. But Zwerling doesn’t think the owner’s beliefs should get in the way of his business.

Grigsby could not be reached for comment.

These days, the state of American discourse may indeed be in bad shape, according to KSCO station manager Michael Olson, if the station’s callers are any indication. “Instead of picking up their phones, calling in and saying, ‘Look here, Bub, I don’t agree with you because of this and this and this, they shout you down. Which, to me, is the most frightening thing on Earth,” Olson says.

But on the topic of speaking freely, Beardslee, who declined to be interviewed, has a knack for shouting over people, too, sometimes hanging up on people she declares to be “communists” on air.

Freedom of speech has remained one of Beardslee’s favorite talking points, though. It was part of the defense she made of Grigsby last month, in one of her impassioned rants. She later told GT via email that the reasons behind her segments were nuanced.

“It is not just a freedom of speech issue. It is about the rights of American citizens. The right to privacy, the right to donate, the right to have political views,” writes Beardslee, whose show airs every Wednesday and Friday from 2 to 4 p.m. (Grigsby’s donation and address were public record, per federal election guidelines.)

Beardslee became so fired up over the O’mei issue that she informally quit while on the air. She was out of the studio for the next show on Friday, Sept. 1, but back the following week—after what she later called a misunderstanding between herself and Zwerling.

Beardslee’s show is hardly the only one on KSCO that stirs up controversy. The station is also the local home of Limbaugh and Dr. David Biles’ weekly “Perspectives” show, for instance, where the local dentist shares views about chemtrails and his distaste for vaccinations. KSCO has plenty of other local programs too, among them Olson’s own “Food Chain Radio,” as well as Rachel Goodman and Joe Jordan’s environmentally focused “Planet Watch.”

For KSCO’s attempts at diversity, there have been signs of strain on the airwaves, as hosts like Charlie Freedman and Beardslee have recently criticized their colleagues over the microphones. Beardslee even criticized Zwerling and Olson for not denouncing the “communists” that she thinks run UCSC.

Zwerling, whose family has owned KSCO since 1991, says the station is losing roughly $40,000 a month, as reported by the Santa Cruz Sentinel in July, although he says KSCO operating on a deficit is “nothing new.”

Amid the station’s apparent financial insecurity, the on-air tension at KSCO has, at times, felt almost palpable, as when Zwerling joined Freedman, a longtime talk show host, on his Thursday, Aug. 31 show. Zwerling was sitting in to discuss O’mei’s closure, a topic that seemed to rattle him harder than it did Freedman. At one point Freedman briefly turned down Zwerling’s microphone to get a word in, which prompted Zwerling to yell that he wanted it turned back up—before the station owner realized that he could turn it back up himself.

“Don’t ever turn my mic down. I’m the reason you’re here!” Zwerling yelled, after taking the controls. “Get it? Don’t ever, ever, ever turn my mic down. Ever again. Ever again! Do you understand?”

That same afternoon, Zwerling criticized staffers for not better promoting the station and even hinted that the station’s days may be numbered. “I guess it’s only a matter of time before KSCO has to close its doors like O’mei did, because you’re a Trump supporter and because I’m a Trump supporter,” Zwerling told Freedman.

Zwerling and Beardslee have both warned that they think the Santa Cruz left could get its way and shut down KSCO—not that anyone actually seems to be trying—just as the two believe that liberals supposedly did with O’mei. But, since the two of them keep bringing it up, we can’t help wondering whether such a shakeup—which, again, is 100 percent hypothetical—is really their worst nightmare, or more of an exit strategy for themselves and for KSCO.

After all, at a station that’s troubled by infighting and financial struggles, liberals sound like an ideal scapegoat for KSCO’s conservative fans, while perhaps even seeming—at least on the surface—to match Beardslee’s narratives of liberals shutting down everything they disagree with.

Bratton—who Beardslee blames for creating a communist conspiracy to shut down O’mei— tells GT that he already boycotts KSCO anyway, and has for 40 years, since long before Zwerling bought the station. “I don’t listen to stuff I don’t agree with, naturally,” he says.

So, was O’mei really closed down by anyone attacking free speech, as Beardslee suggests?

Brenda Griffin, president of the Santa Cruz County NAACP, doesn’t see it that way. She notes that the First Amendment was written to protect people’s speech from government interference and censorship, not from other individuals, who are also allowed to speak their minds and even vote with their dollars.

“In my mind, unless folks physically went there and boarded up the restaurant or vandalized it,” she says, “I don’t see people not supporting [O’mei] as censorship.”


Update 09/13/17 11:36 a.m.: This story has been changed to reflect KSCO host Georgia Beardslee’s full name.

Contributor at Good Times |

Mat Weir originally hails from Southern California but don't hold that against him. For the past decade he has reported on the Santa Cruz music scene and has kept the reading public informed on important community issues such as homelessness, rent hikes, addiction and social injustices. He is a graduate from UCSC, is friends with a little dog name Ruckus and one day will update his personal page, WeirdJournalism.com.

20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. Parmalee Cover

    October 21, 2017 at 7:16 pm

    Thank you, Matt for your excellent article.

  2. Frankie

    September 20, 2017 at 2:44 pm

    This restaurant, O’mei Restaurant, is a very clean place. They must have an effective pest-control program, which has kept the rats and cockroaches at bay, including Bruce Bratton, for 40 years. But their pest control program isn’t perfect, as can be seen by the rats and cockroaches at Good Times, who call themselves “reporters”.

  3. MIchael Folk

    September 17, 2017 at 1:25 am

    It appears that Georgia may get many of her ideas of white genocide on a horrible website she is featured on called “the Jew world order ” where she is featured as their hero. Unbelievable!
    http://www.jewworldorder.org/ksco-radio-Georgia-interviews-frank-Raymond-on-America-stolen

  4. Kevin

    September 16, 2017 at 10:02 pm

    Hopefully people will one day realize that there are good people on both the right and the left. Each side’s practice of demonizing the other plays right into the hands of the “powers that be’s” divide and conquer strategy.

    • Parmalee Cover

      October 21, 2017 at 6:59 pm

      Kevin, Your comment suggests that one side is equal to the other and “why can’t we all get along?” Speaking out about bigotry and injustice is not the equivalent of advocating for it.

  5. eyeslevel

    September 16, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    ALL white countries are being flooded with millions and millions of non-whites. They are being force assimilated BY LAW. Interracial breeding is promoted 24/7 in movies, music, TV, advertisements. Anyone who objects gets “Nazi! Racist! Supremacist!” screamed at them or loses their job or gets thrown in jail like Emma West. This deliberate and obvious program to force blend whites out of existence is GENOCIDE under international law.

    Genocide is any attempt to eliminate a race by any means. it need not be violent. Sterilization and force blending are two methods of genocide which do not necessarily involve killing.

    White genocide is not a conspiracy. Anti-whites OPENLY BRAG about turning white countries non-white (genocide under law).

    • Parmalee Cover

      October 21, 2017 at 7:13 pm

      White is not a race. It’s skin pigment produced by a lack of melanin. Skin pigment has a spectrum from albino ( many albinos are Congolese) to blue black (Northern
      Burmese) Even if one goes by “white” as a racial entity, you have to deal with the fact of white cultures that are far from what white American considers white. Morocco for example, or Roma, or Saudi.

  6. Proud Liberal American

    September 14, 2017 at 3:18 pm

    This show has always been offensive but after Trump was elected it became vile. I have lived all over the country, including North Carolina, and have never heard so much hate spewed on a station.

  7. Robert

    September 14, 2017 at 1:42 pm

    Every radio host at times makes inaccurate statements…I listen to KSCO all the time and they offer a pretty balanced view. The antithesis of Georgia is Billy Sunshine, who also says many things that some would consider outlandish, except he leans towards the opposite end of the spectrum.

    Nothing Georgia says is hate speech. She voices her side and opinion clearly.

    My advice to those who don’t approve of her message? There are two knobs on a radio….the left one turns the volume up or down and the right one changes the channel. Try using them first before you whine about the message and the need for censorship.

    Because one day….if we keep going down this road…your message will be censored too…

    • Greg O

      September 14, 2017 at 7:13 pm

      Nothing Georgia says his hate speech?
      And her rants about white genocide I heard her say that “the wrong color people are reproducing .”
      I think that qualifies …

    • Jacob Pierc

      September 15, 2017 at 4:43 pm

      You may not think it’s hate speech, but she did call herself “a racist” on Wednesday’s show, so there’s that.

      More importantly, we’re not censoring anyone. We’re just reporting what she’s saying, and reporting what other people are saying about her. Censorship would be if we were the government (we’re not), and we were literally stopping her from going on the air to say what she thinks.

      Is your comment censoring the story above it? No, of course not. That’s not what censorship means.

  8. Daniel

    September 14, 2017 at 6:00 am

    I am no fan of David Duke, considering him to be too right wing, pandering a bit to a reactionary German/irish demographic among America…nor do I think much of Trump.

    Nevertheless, I am sure that Roger was thinking politically, and pragmatically with regard to his campaign contributions. Everyone knows that Duke and Trump are far from perfect, but politics is the art of the possible.

    Roger is a VERY thoughtful and fair minded man.

    I am sure that his contributions to David Duke have to do with Duke as he functions now – as someone advocating White interests, having voice enough to make a difference as such, while also freedom and self determination for all peoples – not an endorsement of the image that the media likes to amplify about him – Nazi apologist and all: in that regard, Duke is nothing more than an inarticulate defender, pandering to a beleaguered German/Irish American perspective.

    Moving beyond political expedience, however, I must say that Roger is more open to ways of post modern coordination between different kinds of people than anyone involved with White Nationalism. He an extremely thoughtful person.

    His restaurant, his place in the community of Santa Cruz, his decency to all kinds of decent and legally responsible people should be honored, not ignored and replaced with defamation.

  9. Alex Hardy

    September 14, 2017 at 1:28 am

    Georgia is a much more kind, thoughtful, and honest person then anyone at this terrible website/paper. Santa Cruz is where I have lived my whole life, but the left here are terribly contradictory. You can’t have any sort of different opinion then the left here without being SHUT DOWN. Yet you left preach freedom of speech…doesn’t seem like you want other opinions to have a voice

  10. Mark

    September 13, 2017 at 11:53 pm

    Long live KSCO! Unite the RIGHT!

  11. WhiteBoi

    September 13, 2017 at 10:43 pm

    Diversity is white genocide, facts are racist and the left can’t meme.

  12. Ruby S.

    September 13, 2017 at 9:53 pm

    They have only themselves to blame. Hate speech may be free speech, but so is ignoring, not listening, not advertising, and speaking out against it. KSCO has long been a blistering hemorrhoid on @ss of the airwaves around here. Losing money? Capitalism at its finest. It’s the law of supply and demand. What they are supplying, no one wants. Good riddance.

  13. Leah Barrett

    September 13, 2017 at 5:28 pm

    Very important journalism here. Thank you for exposing the terrible people that ruin our beautiful town and country.

  14. Ole Bob

    September 13, 2017 at 2:17 am

    Diversity means chasing down whites.

    • joe citizen

      September 14, 2017 at 10:42 am

      Omei was not the only business owned by Roger Grigsby. He owns lots of rental property.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Are you an earthling? Prove it with logic: *

To Top