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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Fun Country Sounds From Simi Valley

Simi Valley’s 99.1 The Ranch is a nonprofit country radio station with a commitment to the local market. Instead of running network ads to fund operations, the station creates and broadcasts customized radio spots for Valley-area businesses including Galpin Ford and Adventist Health Simi Valley. It also sponsors events such as the Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Festival and opens its studios in the Simi Valley Town Center to Rotary club meetings, youth baseball sign-ups and curious shoppers. “We get a lot of walk-in traffic,” said Ranch President John Tayloe. “Sometimes we’ll put them on the air to say hey to them.” Tayloe, who owns Simi Valley-based Christian radio company Strategic Communications Group, founded The Ranch in 2015 after realizing there was a lack of country music radio in the area. The station caught on with listeners and has since grown to 15 staff employees. On-air talent include Ashley Paige and Brad Abrell for the a.m. drive, Diana DeVille in mid-day and the syndicated Dr. Claudia McCulloch on Sunday mornings. Volunteers also help broadcast local high school football games on its “Ranch Friday Night Lights” weekly program. The station has about 30 annual sponsors who pay $750 a month for personalized radio commercials. Thomas Herdering, director of community outreach at the station, works with local companies to put together sponsored spots, even bringing business owners into the studio to do voiceovers. “Each one is uniquely crafted to match their business,” he said. Sponsors’ logos appear on the station’s banners at local events and on its website. Tayloe said the station has no plans to expand operations and is instead focused on continuing to engage local businesses and community members. He is, however, working to increase the Ranch’s regional presence. “In the San Fernando Valley, we’ve found that a lot of people don’t have that sense of community but want it desperately, so we’re bringing that forward,” he said. The Ranch is sandwiched between two large competitors. 100.7 KHAY is a commercial country station in Ventura owned by Cumulus Media Inc. In the greater Los Angeles radio market, KKGO 105.1 Classic Country broadcasts from studios in West Los Angeles. It is owned by entrepreneur Saul Levine. Tayloe said that as a nonprofit, the Ranch doesn’t face the same pressures as these corporate stations. “A company like (Cumulus Media) is serving their stockholders, and we’re serving the community,” he said. “They just can’t do what we do because they’re too big.”

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