A revamped and reinvigorated talk show radio station focused on a tried but true agenda is promising to light up the Valley’s airwaves.
The station: TalkRadio 1680 KGED, located in Fresno’s Tower District.
The agenda: The passion, glory and – it’s talk radio, after all – controversy of American life.
Top KGED officials and talk show hosts gathered outside KGED studios to celebrate the station’s renaissance. About 25 supporters of the station’s conservative product and its stars showed up.
“Welcome everybody to the new TalkRadio 1680 KGED,”
said Guillermo Moreno, KGED’s chief operating officer and one of the station’s prime time talk show hosts.
“We are excited and thrilled to re-launch 1680 with a new syndicated lineup. We also are excited to announce the most live and local shows on any talk radio station here (in the Valley). We beat the other one by one, but nevertheless we can take that title. The most live and local radio station and the most live and local radio talent throughout the Central Valley.”
Lisa Moreno, KGED’s president, was next to the microphone. She pointed to the on-air talent standing behind her.
What you see, said Lisa Moreno (Guillermo’s mother) is
“the new generation of talk radio in Fresno. You see heart. You see soul. You see the new talk radio generation right before your eyes with Guillermo Moreno, Jerris Lee and Ben Bergquam….This is Fresno, this is Central Valley talk radio, this is the new generation. We have big, great, amazing upcoming events with TalkRadio 1680 KGED.”
(Full disclosure: Guillermo also is Central Valley Observer’s editor-in-chief. I am a free-lance contributor to CVO. Some of my stuff has a conservative bent. Some of it doesn’t. Guillermo has never censored me.)
The news conference included a brief video from provocative talk show host Alex Jones, who figures to be one of KGED’s biggest attention-getters.
Jones said Big Corporate America is trying to silence him “because we’re telling the truth.” He said of the Alex Jones Show and the Central Valley’s 1680 KGED – “Now that’s a winning team.”
But Thursday, for the most part, wasn’t about Alex Jones. It was about KGED’s home-grown talent – Guillermo Moreno, Jerris Lee, Ben Bergquam. KGED’s late afternoon/early evening lineup features “Frontline America with Ben Bergquam” from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.; “The Guillermo Moreno Show” from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.; and”NO PC With Jerris Lee” from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. (Monday through Friday).
“What happens here doesn’t happen anywhere else in the Valley,” Bergquam said. “We bring you live to the action and we don’t sugarcoat it with anything. This is just the beginning. We are in pivotal times for our nation.”
Added Lee: “This whole lineup, it’s going to beautiful.”
Guillermo made a point to thank Al Perez, KGED’s owner, for his dedication to the conservative message. Thanks to Perez, Guillermo said, the conservative voice will always have a home in Fresno.
Guillermo and Jerris were kind enough to chat briefly with me before the news conference.
I asked Guillermo to explain exactly what was going on.
“We’re re-launching the 1680 signal,” Guillermo said.
“This is truly the new generation of Talk Radio hosts here in the Valley and probably the nation. These guys are going to be syndicated one day. When Rush Limbaugh retires, these are the people who are going to be replacing him.”
Why, I asked, is the local talent that good.
“We’ve got diversity,” Guillermo said.
“We have a lot of passion. And they’re newsmakers. Syndicated hosts and normal talk radio hosts just sit behind a desk and opine. But here you’ve got Ben Bergquam with Frontline America – he’ll go, he’ll make the news, he’ll confront the individuals that need to be confronted. ‘NO PC with Jerris Lee,’ the young conservative voice. (Jerris) just graduated (from college). He loves it, he has the passion, he wants to do it forever. We’ve got more diversity and we really know our stuff.”
I noted that conservatism is a big tent. What kind of conservatism will the listener find on KGED? George Will-type? Russell Kirk-type? Or something newer and more dynamic?
“You have all of the above,” Guillermo said.
“You have Hugh Hewitt on in the morning and Laura Ingraham. Then we go Far Right with Alex Jones and Mike Savage. Then we have the local talent – myself, Ben and Jerris are somewhere in the middle. So, you don’t have just one conservative point of view.”
I asked Guillermo to describe his own political views.
“I’d be Center-Right,” Guillermo said. “Further Right than Center-Right. Keep going Right, George.”
Guillermo said he, his mother and the Moreno family have a lease-management agreement at KGED. He said that means “we’re in charge of the day to day operations and settling on the syndicated and local lineups. But at the end of the day it’s really about the listener. We’ve got to make sure we put out a great product. Radio is a tough business. But there is room for three radio stations in the market” that focus on conservative talk radio.
Guillermo said KGED, being locally owned, has a personal connection to the community.
“We care about local businesses,” Guillermo said. “We hire local. While everyone else is struggling, going in and out of bankruptcy, the 1680 signal will be strong as long as we can continue trudging forward.”
Finally, I asked Guillermo to explain Alex Jones to someone who has never listened to him (such as myself).
“Alex Jones is an interesting fella,” Guillermo said.
“But he’s got a huge following locally and around the nation. You’re never going to agree with everyone’s opinion, but there’s always something good, a part, you can take from everybody. Everyone’s not going to agree with me. I know everyone’s not going to agree with Alex Jones. Radio is also entertainment. You want to hear about what’s going on out there.”
Next up was a one-on-one with Jerris Lee. What does he mean by “NO PC” in his show’s title?
“I don’t know if you know, but there are Right Wing snowflakes,” Jerris said.
“They’re more annoying than Left Wing snowflakes. So, we come after all of them. We come after the PC folks, whether it’s on the Right or it’s on the Left. No one is safe – no one who doesn’t defend the Constitution. Right now with the caravan situation, we’ve got people who were elected to protect Americans protecting leeches coming across our border. So, anyone who doesn’t uphold their oath to protect Americans as they were elected to do – we’re coming for.”
I noted to Jerris that conservatism is a big tent, with different beliefs as to conservatism’s true path. These beliefs often come into conflict. Where does he stand?
“It is a big tent,” Jerris said.
“But if you don’t revere the Constitution and you are a snowflake and you buy into the PC culture, I don’t want you. There should be no place for ‘Big Government’ Republicans. This station isn’t made for the John Kashch’s of the world. Of course, it’s a big tent. We want all the voters we can get. But if getting more voters means we turn our backs on the Constitution or we turn our backs on limited government, I’m not interested.”
I asked: What is a snowflake? “The easily triggered people,” Jerris said.
Jerris’s interests clearly reside mainly on the national scene. But, Jerris added, he keeps an eye on Fresno City Hall.
I haven’t come across many “snowflakes” at City Hall. They’re a formidable bunch over there. But there’s almost always some sort of policy or political controversy brewing on P Street.
More product for the new TalkRadio 1680 KGED.
Best of luck, Guillermo, Lisa and team.