Rick Bentley

Skip Essick returns to local radio

Skip Essick has become part owner of KGED.
Skip Essick has become part owner of KGED.

Things in the radio world have been moving fast for Skip Essick over the past year.

At the end of July 2014, Essick was replaced by Blake Taylor as the program director for KMJ (AM 580) and KMJ (FM 105.9). Two months later, Essick headed East as he joined the Childers Media Group in Lima, Ohio, a radio broadcast and marketing company. At the same time, he became a consultant for programming and operations for local conservative talk radio station AM1680 The Answer (KGED, AM 1680).

Now, Essick is back in Fresno as one of the owners of KGED after buying 15% of the local conservative talk radio station. Only days after driving back from Ohio, Essick was on the air reporting the news.

“It’s good to be back, especially after spending a winter in Ohio,” Essick says. “I like living in Fresno and feel like the city gets a bad rap. I want to be a huge cheerleader for the city. There’s a lot that I can do both as a private citizen and as the owner/manager of the radio station to foster a lot of goodwill in the city.”

Essick has been back in Fresno a month and already started making changes. He convinced local pastor Jim Franklin, a partner in Compass Broadcasting Inc., which owns KGED, to host a one-hour weekday show that airs at 2 p.m.

The rest of the weekday lineup includes programs hosted by Laura Ingraham, Dave Ramsey, Hugh Hewitt, Eric Metaxas, Clark Howard and Michael Savage.

Essick also got back on the air. He does the local news during “America’s Morning news” that airs 6-8 a.m. weekdays.

Being an owner of AM1680 The Answer puts Essick in competition with his former radio station. Essick isn’t looking at being on the air against KMJ as a battle.

“People ask how are we going to compete with KMJ. We’re not going to. I know what we can do. All I want to do is make a good living and put out a good product,” Essick says.

To do that, there have been some technical improvements made to the radio station that have helped with the fidelity and loudness. Essick was tweaking the station from afar when he was in Ohio. Now, he’s got a more hands-on approach.

The biggest difference for Essick between being a consultant who lives across the country and being here as a part owner is that he feels like he’s always on the job now.

“When you don’t live in the area it is easy to set it and forget it. But, I’m a 24/7 guy,” Essick says.

Essick hasn’t fully cut his ties to Ohio. He continues to host an afternoon show with the radio station there. He records his part of the show in the mornings here and then ships the material to the station.

Here at home, Essick is looking for sales people for the radio station. For more information, contact him at skipessickmedia@gmail.com.

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