A Century of KMJ Over the Airwaves!

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KMJ Historical Photo: Courtesy Sheldon Garajarian/FOX26

FRESNO, CA (KMJ) – KMJ celebrates 100 years on-air in the Central Valley and beyond.

The station began broadcasting on March 23, 1922, and is the 38th oldest licensed and continually operating radio station in America.

KMJ Celebrates Its 100th Anniversary. The Cumulus station in Fresno is playing it up. KMJ has turned 100. Dozens of U.S. radio stations have hit their centennials in recent months, recalling the period in the early 1920s when the modern radio industry was born.

By Paul McLane, RadioWorld

Over the past 100 years of broadcasting, KMJ has provided listeners in Fresno and California’s Central Valley with news, current events, music, sports, religion, drama, comedy and most importantly, public service.

Cumulus Media (NASDAQ: CMLS) announces the kick-off of Fresno News/Talk station KMJ-AM’s 100th birthday celebration.

KMJ’s year-long Centennial celebration will include a concert to be announced and a documentary film.

VP and Market Manager Patty Hixson has been working at KMJ for more than three decades:

I started listening to KMJ in my 20s. Over the past 33+ years, I have had the great honor and privilege to have worked with some of the greatest talent in the business, both on air and in sales,” VP/Market Manager Patty Hixson said in a release. “I am truly grateful and humbled by the fact that I have been so blessed to serve our valued listeners – this is my home. The KMJ brand will continue to serve our community and central California through continued focus on relevant content, philanthropy, and ethical business practices. Every day we aspire to be great… and it’s the men and women that work here every day, and have done so for the past 100 years, who deserve all the credit for achieving such a wonderful milestone.”

Production Director Blake Taylor says the station “has covered everything from the Harding administration to the Biden White House. Terrible tragedies to inspirational triumphs and everything in between.”

KMJ’s many on-air talents include the stations longest running show host Ray Appleton, who began his radio career in Fresno in 1969. He has been a part of the KMJ team since 1987 and continues to share his thoughts and viewpoints with his very large and loyal audience. His first day on KMJ coincided with the stock market crash known as “Black Monday”.

Photo: Collage by Joshua Weakley

Host John Broeske is a longtime KMJ talent. He started in radio in 1977 working for KHOT and KUUL in Madera as a DJ and News Director. In 1981, he started with KMJ as a Talk Show Host and became Program Director in 1985. He is the mid morning host on KMJ-AM and KMJ-FM.  You can hear John co-host “Broeske & Musson” 9a-11a on KMJ with Christina Musson.

Christina Musson is also heard Monday-Friday from 9-11 a.m. on KMJ Radio co-hosting “Broeske & Musson” with her good friend, John Broeske. With deep ag roots in the Valley, Christina joined KMJ in September 2009 as the AM weekday traffic reporter and producer for the Ray Appleton Show. In January 2015, she began her on-air talk show career.

KMJ features the 3x Golden Mike Award-winning news team of Matt Otstot, Christopher Gabriel, Liz Kern, Ruth Michaels, Gabe Navarro, Ag Director Don York along with sports anchor George Takata, traffic anchor Mike Martinez and weather anchor Christina Lopez.

KMJ award-winning Morning Show host Matt Otsot is a native of Central Pennsylvania and a graduate of Penn State University, spending nearly 17 years in the broadcast news field. He’s the award winning anchor of the KMJ Morning News weekdays from 6:00 to 9:00 AM on KMJ AM 580 & 105.9 FM. Otstot is joined by veteran broadcaster, entertainer and show host Christopher Gabriel. The Fresno Morning News team brings the San Joaquin Valley the best breaking news coverage from 6-9am PT. Christopher Gabriel hosts @CGProgram a weekend talk show on KMJ station.

News updates are delivered throughout the day on KMJ by award-winning anchor Liz Kern, who’s reported live from the International Bridges bordering Juarez and El Paso during 9-11.

Ron McCary also anchors KMJ’s news and is a true native Fresnan – a graduate of McLane High and Fresno State, a U.S. Army vet who went on to teach at Fowler High School. Ron began his broadcasting career in 1969 at KFIG (with Ray Appleton as Program Director). He moved into news radio at KMPH in 1997 and joined KMJ in 2007.

Broadcaster Jim Miller leads the afternoon news on KMJ.

Every morning, listeners can hear KMJ’s Ag Director, Don York, host the Ag Show Monday – Friday 5:00 AM – 6:00 AM. York has won several journalism awards, and was honored by the Fresno County Farm Bureau for Journalism in 1996. He brings area farmers the most up-to-date news from the agricultural industry.

KMJ Afternoon Drive is hosted by Philip Teresi and Skip Echeverria. Teresi says “In 2010, I was invited to contribute to the Chris Daniel Show on KMJ. With his blessing I took over Afternoon Drive on September 9th, 2019.”

Skip joined just before the pandemic brought the world to a stand-still. She and Philip offered the latest information during a time when listeners turned to the radio most. Skip says “Radio is what I love. I have the unique experience of now doing news/talk radio in the afternoons, along with working as a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and adjunct professor at Fresno State in the graduate counseling department. This is still the only station my father counts as really “making it in radio.”

Afternoon drive traffic updates are provided by long-time station on-air personality Greg Lane, whose credits include pulling the switch to bring KSKS Kiss Country’s morning show on-air. Lane hosts the afternoon traffic report shared by sister channels Kiss Country and KMJ 580AM/105.9 FM, and Auto Shop Talk airing Saturday mornings on KMJ.

Join Culinary co-hosts Mike Shirinian and Dave Fansler as they discuss all things food and what’s trending in the restaurant industry. The prominent Fresno restaurant owners co-host the Central Valley’s only local radio show dedicated to all things culinary.

Legal insight and in-depth interviews are shared by renowned Fresno attorney Marc Kapetan on Saturdays 12-1pm on KMJ and KMJNow.com

There are so many more faces and shows that make KMJ a vital part of the community.

Originally owned by the San Joaquin Light and Power Corporation, KMJ was later acquired by the McClatchy Newspaper Company in 1925 and has seen a handful of owners in the past century. KMJ is currently owned and operated by Cumulus Media.

Between 1925 and 1932, KMJ operated on a number of other frequencies. Eventually KMJ moved to 580 kHz in 1932, operating with 1 kW non-directional from a building rooftop in Downtown Fresno.

Today, KMJ operates on the regional channel 580AM and 105.9FM with 50Kw and a directional antenna array with state-of-the-art towers near Orange Cove and Kerman.

At the outset of World War II, the Department of War selected KMJ as the primary medium for alerting Central California residents.

It is still used for this purpose today as a primary entry point for the Emergency Alert System.

Recording of a 1937 show hosted by Fresno Mayor Z.S. Leymel

KMJ thanks all the folks who submitted photos for our 100th anniversary.

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