Case study: Peak Broadcasting takes KMJ to new audiences

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Peak Broadcasting of Fresno has announced a series of initiatives designed to expand the reach of KMJ’s local news, talk, sports, and specialty programming offered throughout Central California. Yesterday, the 105.9 FM frequency (previously KFJK) was reformatted as The FM KMJ @ 105-9. KMJ-FM is a completely new and diverse radio station, yet powered, and branded by the KMJ name. Also both KMJ AM and FM offers a new and updated web platform located at www.kmjnow.com. It is geared to be the region’s destination for up-to-the minute local news, traffic, sports, farm, and weather information for all of the Central Valley in addition to podcasts, streaming, and video offerings featured on KMJ 580 and The FM [email protected] 105-9. It made sense—there are about 45 FM stations in the Fresno market—the only other news-talk station is NPR. By the way, Peak bought KMJ from CBS. It was a 6-7 share station. Peak has now built that up to #1 in the market 12+ and 25-54, depending on the book.


Said Peak President/Operations Bill Figenshu: “Well, you see where the future is. We think very much of proprietary content, so that’s why we’ve launched all of this in the middle of a recession. We bought the sports rights, we own the market in respect to news and talk. So we felt we needed to expand the brand to places beyond just an AM radio station. The KMJ brand has been in the market for 80 years, so why not put it where the people are? Generally, with 70% of your 25-54s on FM, it just made sense to put it there.”

[ Editor’s note: See our interview with Peak CEO Todd Lawley in related story ]

But instead of just doing a simulcast, Peak decided to build another talk station. Only mornings are simulcast between the two. “So although it is branded as KMJ,” says Fig, “KMJ means news, talk, traffic, weather and sports in Central California. There’s no signal issue—it’s 50,000 watts at 580 kHz. So the idea was to expand the brand to online, FM and mobile—everywhere the people are. “Look, we’re in the audio delivery business, we’re not in the radio business. And the audio delivery business is, again, anywhere people are.”

And by the way, 18 of the 24 hour days on these stations are California-based programming. “When people say live and local is the future, and the first thing you do is fire the jocks and let go of the salespeople, it doesn’t kind of make sense to us.”

The changes are just now being unveiled to advertisers. KMJ is already the top biller in the market, “by a mile,” says Fig.

Peak is a bit under the radar, as compared to the big groups, however, it is proactive and believes in local radio. They are also doing some phenomenal things with the internet (they are also contracted with Platformic for their sites). “In the smaller markets that we have, we’re making a lot of noise,” says Fig. “We’re not doing it with money—we’re doing it with creativity—because we don’t have the money. We’re like everybody else. But the important part of this is we’re investing in places that we think are important. I don’t think we need another radio station on the air to play Billy Joel records. So if we can have proprietary programming, we think that’s the future of live and local.”

And on top of that, they’ve launched CalAgNet.com. Fresno County is the nation’s #1 agribusiness county in the country. It’s powered by KMJ. “There are 71,000 private farms in California alone—it’s crazy not to take advantage of that. It was profitable on day one—just B2B.”

Peak has also launched a sports radio network in Boise, which now has 21 affiliates. “We want to own the places we’re in, and we’re not going to do it by playing the best hits of the 80s and 90s,” Fig said. “I can get that on Pandora, YouTube and everywhere else. We have to go with our strength, which is local. So KMJ is going to be everywhere the people are—whether it’s AM, FM, online, mobile, two cups and a string. It’s not up to them to come to us anymore, we have to go them. By the way, KMJ-AM has more listeners than the TV stations have viewers.”

Patty Hixson, Sr. VP and Market Manger of Peak Broadcasting/Fresno said; “The economy, including housing, retail, farming, and business to business is just too important to cover on just one radio station in a market as large and diverse as Fresno.” “The FM KMJ will offer listeners more local dialogue, more diversity of thought and more entertaining talk opinions by some of the best professionals in the business.” “The same commitments to our community offered on market leading KMJ AM 580, will now extend to The FM KMJ @105-9 and KMJ NOW.COM.”

The New Initial Lineup on The FM KMJ @ 105-9 is as follows;
5am to 6am – California Ag Net with Roy Isom – A Daily report on the agribusiness in the Central Valley from the resources of californiaagnet.com.

6am to 9am – KMJ’s Fresno Morning News – The Central Valley’s first choice for local news, weather, traffic, and sports comes to The FM KMJ. Featuring the familiar voices of Ray Appleton, Blake Taylor, Christine Mathias, Bill Woodward, and meteorologist Doug Collins, it’s the only way to start the day.

9am to Noon – Glenn Beck – Glenn Beck is a talk radio and TV personality whose quick wit, candid opinions and engaging personality has helped him attract a devoted following nationwide. It is the third highest-rated national radio talk show among adults ages 25 to 54.

Noon to 3pm – Dave Ramsey – For the first time in the Central Valley, this 3-hour live radio talk show focuses on life, love, and relationships, and how they happen to revolve around money. Given the current economic conditions, there can be no better time to hear this national voice offer life changing financial advice.

3pm to 5pm – Chris Daniel – The FM KMJ is proud to present one of Central California’s most recognizable voices. Chris will be live and local every afternoon to keep you entertained and informed while taking your calls.

5pm to 7pm – NO STATIC SPORTS, ON THE FM KMJ @ 105-9 – with Alexan Balekian. Fresno’s only live and local afternoon drive sports show for people who love sports, and love to have fun talking sports. Hosted by one of Fresno’s most exciting and visible sports personalities.

7pm to 10pm – The Michael Savage Show – Live from the Bay Area, Home of the Savage Nation, this high octane program will set your radio to stun.

10PM to Midnight – The KMJ Replay – A collection of the day’s best local shows by Central California’s most listened to radio personalities. If you missed today’s show from KMJ legend Ray Appleton or tonight’s KMJ-AM 580 highlights from Inga Barks, they are here on The FM KMJ.

Midnight to 5am – Coming Soon! Live from El-Lay! It’s the Third Shift with John & Jeff.

Every weekend on the FM KMJ will be filled with the songs that made living in Central California special. This special blend of upbeat songs from the 60’s, and 70’s. The Beach Boys, The Stones, Chicago, The Monkees, and all the POP HITS from the 60’s and 70’s will be on THE FM KMJ. Taka break from the week and crank up the tunes that made radio famous.

KMJ-FM WEEKEND MUSIC PROMO: