Rick Bentley

Skip Essick’s radio journey takes him to another station

Dean Cain and Melissa Joan Hart star in “Broadcasting Christmas.”
Dean Cain and Melissa Joan Hart star in “Broadcasting Christmas.” Hallmark Channel

The radio news trek of Skip Essick continues.

Essick, who was replaced as program director for the news/talk radio stations KMJ (AM580) and KMJ (FM 105.9) in July 2014, has joined One Putt Broadcasting as news director. The local radio group owns Jewel FM, 940 ESPN, KYNO, 790 ESPN2, 95.7 The Fox, New Rock 104.1 and KJZN 105.5.

This is the latest stop on Essick’s career journey that at one point took him to Ohio.

His initial duties with One Putt will be the expansion of local news with one- to two-minute breaks that will be broadcast seven to eight times each day on 1430 KYNO and 95.7 The Fox. After the first of the year, news will be added to other stations.

After his years at KMJ, Essick joined the Childers Media Group in Lima, Ohio, a radio broadcast and marketing company. He kept his connection to Fresno as a consultant for programming and operations for local conservative talk radio station KGED, AM 1680 The Answer. Essick came back to Fresno as one of the owners of KGED after buying 15 percent of the local conservative talk radio station. He sold his interest in the talk station before signing on with One Putt.

“For a variety of reasons I’ve decided that it’s time to cut back on the day-to-day pressures of ownership and management. I will continue to be involved on a consulting basis with KGED and am very grateful to Al Perez and Jim Franklin for their support,” Essick says. “My new arrangement with One Putt Broadcasting will give me an opportunity to have a lot of fun, with a great deal of flexibility as I transition to a new chapter in my life.”

Essick had already started working with One Putt creating news reports for 1430 KYNO produced by The Answer.

The newscast Essick will be creating for One Putt will be known as “20/20 News,” a brand first introduced to the Valley in the ’60s on KYNO.

“Skip brings an unusual combination of programming and management experience to our organization,” John Ostlund, One Putt partner, says. “After leaving KMJ, Skip and I became good friends over a common love of great radio. We share the passion and the responsibility radio has to serve the community’s best interest.”

It’s started

It’s 38 days until Christmas but Fresno’s Soft Rock 98.9 FM has already started playing holiday music. It became the “Valley’s Official Christmas Music” station on Nov. 10.

Soft Rock 98.9 FM will play holiday music 24 hours a day, all the way through Christmas Day.

“After the long and chaotic election season, people are ready to shift to family, loved ones and the holidays,” Steve Weed, program director, says. “You’ll hear all of your favorite Christmas songs along with standards performed by contemporary artists.”

More holiday spirit

Markus Hill, a Buchanan High School graduate, is the associate producer of “Broadcasting Christmas” that will make its debut on the Hallmark Channel Wednesday. It is part of the cable channel’s “Five Nights Stuffed Full of Original Holiday Movies!”

The holiday film looks at what happens when a human-interest reporter makes a plea to become the new on-air partner on a popular morning TV show. The film stars Melissa Joan Hart, Dean Cain and Jackee Harry.

Before moving behind the cameras, Hill was on reality TV shows such as “Bad Girls Club” and “Tanisha Gets Married.” Growing up, Hill appeared in stage productions in junior high and high school along with shows at Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theater and at Peoples Church.

Rick Bentley: 559-441-6355, @RickBentley1