It’s been a long time since there has been English-language radio in Hanford.
For local English-speaking radio fans — particularly those who like classic rock — the wait is over.
From a small booth currently located in the Smoke Joint restaurant on Seventh Street, KOAD, FM 92.5, is sending out a '70s and '80s classic rock mix from a tower on the roof of the building.
Broadcasting a full-blown radio station from a restaurant is highly unusual. So is the fact that KOAD, which goes by the nickname “KFUN,” is registered as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
KOAD is set up in a public service format, with plans for future broadcasts of local football games, volunteer employees/interns, paid sponsorships and the occasional promotion.
Chalk the whole idea up to the wife-husband team of Denise and Chris White. She’s the owner, he’s the chief financial officer.
“This area hasn’t had a classic rock station in 20 years,” he said.
The return of classic rock broadcasting to Hanford conjures up references to KIGS, the longtime AM radio station on Highway 198 east of Hanford. Currently broadcasting in an Indian language format, the station was formerly in Portuguese.
Before that, it was KNGS, a pop rock station owned by the parents of lead Journey singer Steve Perry.
“We’re bringing back the sound,” said Denise White.
To sustain its nonprofit status, the station plans to broadcast charity events. The Whites plan a monthly “charity of the month” feature.
In other respects, it’s what you would expect from a modern FM radio station.
Starting Monday, KOAD will have a full-lineup that includes separate shows in the morning, afternoon and evening.
The afternoon show, dubbed “Lunch with Stan,” gives Smoke Joint owner Stan Houseworth a chance to kill several birds with one stone.
Part of the benefit for him is promoting the restaurant. Lunchgoers can interact during the program, making requests and possibly doing interviews.
Houseworth envisions the station will help promote downtown Hanford as a whole, partly by broadcasting from the upcoming Thursday Night Market Place.
Since he moved his restaurant downtown from a location on 11th Avenue in 2013, Houseworth has been dreaming up ways to try to build foot traffic and interest.
“I think it’s going to be beneficial, not just for me, but for the entire community,” Houseworth said. “I want people to get back into downtown.”
The morning show, captained by local promoter Joey Perez, will feature music plus a mix of community news, traffic, weather and call-ins.
The evening show emcee is Joey Joslin, who will go by the name “The Marshall” to distinguish himself from Perez.
The Whites think the classic rock format will play well with baby boomers and Gen Xers yearning for the good ole days. They even hope to build nostalgia for classic FM among twentysomethings.
“As it evolves, as it changes, some songs will come on, others will drop out,” Chris White said.