Thanksgiving is still a week away, but that hasn’t stopped several local radio stations from switching to an All-Christmas music format through the holidays. I like holiday music, but this is just a little early. The good thing is that there are a lot of other local radio channels that have not made the temporary change to their programming.
Regardless, it’s never too early to start thinking about being charitable for the holidays.
The iHeartMedia Fresno radio stations group – made up of La Preciosa 92.9 FM, B95, 102.7 The Wolf, 103.7 The Beat, Power Talk FM 96.7 and AM 1400, 1130 KRDU AM, Soft Rock 98.9 and Fox Sports AM 1430 - is joining with Sinclair Broadcasting (owners of FOX26 and KFREE59) and the Les Schwab Tire Centers for the “Great Valley Toy Drive.” The eight radio stations have already started encouraging listeners to donate new, unwrapped toys through Dec. 14.
“iHeartMedia Fresno radio stations are committed to improving the lives of our listeners and spreading joy this holiday season ,” says Jeff Negrete, market president for iHeartMedia Fresno. “Last year’s ‘Great Valley Toy Drive’ collected over 4,000 toys that were distributed to families in our community.”
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All of the toys collected will be given to the Poverello House, a volunteer-run shelter than serves the hungry and homeless in Fresno. They will distribute the toys as holiday gifts to children in need, as well as provide toys to similar organizations such as Catholic Charities, Spirit of Women, Cornerstone Church and other faith-based groups.
“The toy drive offers an opportunity for every child, regardless of their circumstances, to experience the wonder and magic of the Christmas season,” Cruz Avila-Executive, director of Poverello House, says.
Donations can be dropped off at iHeartMedia offices Fresno, 83 E. Shaw Ave., #150; Sinclair Broadcasting’s studios, 5111 E. McKinley Ave.; and all Valley Les Schwab Tire locations.
“Every year, thousands of area families struggle to afford Christmas gifts for their kids,” says Randy Hecker, South Central California Area Manager for Les Schwab. “The ‘Great Valley Toy Drive’ is an opportunity for Les Schwab Tire Centers to connect the kindness of our customers with nonprofits and families who need a little help during the holidays.”
Jack Peck, vice president and general manager for Sinclair Broadcasting Fresno, stresses that supporting the toy drive is a great way “to warm the hearts of needy children and families.”
The toy drive accepts donations of new, unwrapped toys and cash.
Pentatonix, featuring Visalia’s Avi Kaplan, will make an appearance on the “CMA Country Christmas” special to air at 9 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 3, on ABC30. The two-hour special is being hosted for the sixth year by Jennifer Nettles.
Other guests set to appear on the special, taped at the Grand Ole Opry House, include Kelsea Ballerini, Dan + Shay, Mickey Guyton, Jewel, Charles Kelley, Martina McBride, David Nail, Nettles, LeAnn Rimes, Darius Rucker, Brian Setzer, Michael W. Smith and Lindsey Stirling.
Take a shot
If you have always said that you would make a great contestant on “America’s Got Talent,” your chance to audition is coming soon. There will be an open casting call Tuesday, Dec. 8, at the San Jose Convention Center, 408 Almaden Blvd., San Jose.
This is one of 12 auditions to find contestants for the 11th season of the NBC reality competition show. If you want to be part of the stop in San Jose, go to AGTAuditions.com.
If you don’t want to make the drive, you can always do an online audition through March.
Hart of the radio world
Veteran news journalist Dennis Hart is now appearing weekdays on AM1680 The Answer with a new feature called “Viewpoint.” It’s a 90-second comment on the news from someone who’s been covering it for more than 40 years.
You probably know Hart best from his reporting work for KMJ.
The California State University, Fresno, graduate worked in Fresno, Phoenix, Atlanta, Detroit, San Francisco and Los Angeles – plus taught journalism at Iowa State University. His many jobs in Fresno included program director of KMPH (FM 107.5) and host of a talk show on KIRV (AM 1510).
“Viewpoint” airs daily on the local talk radio station at 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Talk to me
Xfinity TV customers can now access the “Talking Guide” in Spanish. The guide allows those with vision problems better access to the services offered by the local cable provider.
When turned on, a female voice will read program titles, network names and time slots, as well as DVR and On Demand settings in Spanish as a way to help viewers decide what to watch.