Nearly three years ago, when radio veteran and founder of Gay Desert Guide Brad Fuhr helped launch KGAY 106.5, the airwaves and audience responded – big time! Now, in a new agreement, Sunnylands Broadcasting has sold the popular franchise and ensure that “KGAY stays Gay.” LGBTQ+ programming will be expanded with popular KGAY hosts returning to the airwaves Monday, August 2: John Taylor in the mornings and Chris Schebel in the afternoons.
Fuhr is operating, then purchasing, the popular KGAY AM 1270 and FM 106.5 radio stations from Sunnylands Broadcasting, combining with his established digital and social brand, Gay Desert Guide.
“Today’s audience accesses information and entertainment 24/7 across multiple platforms and with multiple devices. The new combination of KGAY Palm Springs and GayDesertGuide.LGBT meets that need, in real time, and in every medium”, said Fuhr, who is leading the two companies.
The new entity is organized as a public benefit corporation and provides multiple programming streams including the well-known and popular KGAYPalmSprings.com, AM 1270 and 106.5 FM music channel in addition to the #ILoveGayPalmSprings podcast. Expanded programming will follow. The station will launch a new public service campaign called “KGAY Cares” for local non-profits.
“KGAY should stay gay and this plan does just that,” said Greg Smith, co-owner of Sunnylands Broadcasting. “We have always been and remain committed to keeping the radio station in the ownership of an LGBTQ+ company. We are thrilled that the radio station will be operated by Brad who is both an experienced broadcaster and a successful champion of the LGBTQ+ communities.
Understanding the challenge of reaching the LGBTQ+ audience, Fuhr and his team are taking an integrated approach to the new venture. The popular website and social media platforms GayDesertGuide and #ILoveGayPalmSprings will be re-integrated into KGAY radio for content, promotions and advertising plans.
Locally, KGAY entered the marketplace on Christmas Day 2018 with an immediate fan base. “KGAY has been remarkably successful” says Fuhr, noting that the station has worldwide listeners via its streaming platform and easy discovery as ‘K-GAY,’ the best call letters in the world. “This will only expand and improve with new ownership and our integrated marketing plan.”
The station plays dance hits from the disco era to today. Brand manager Chris Shebel originally concepted the dance hits format nationally. He notes, “I was fortunate to be the first programmer of KGAY Palm Springs and I look forward to resuming that role. KGAY is a unique radio station with a strong role in our diverse Coachella valley communities. I’m excited to return to KGAY to oversee the music we play and help make our performers a strong part of the community. Thanks to the current owners’ desire to keep the station in LGBTQ+ hands, we have an opportunity now to make KGAY a part of our communities for years to come.” Shebel will host afternoons on KGAY 106.5 Palm Springs.
With the highest concentration of LGBTQ+ residents in the USA, the Coachella Valley has proven that KGAY is a winning radio format. Add to it the nearly eight years of GayDesertGuide.LGBT being a top digital destination and the future bodes well. The new on-air, social media and digital platforms combine during a moment when Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley are emerging from the pandemic.
The takeover was effective at midnight August 1, coinciding with the 40th anniversary of the launch of MTV, which declared ‘Video Killed the Radio Star’ with its first song. Fuhr believes radio is still alive and kicking, and is happy to be returning to his roots, which started at his hometown radio station at age 15. This morning, the Coachella Valley is waking up to the new KGAY Palm Springs.
The station will be known as ‘KGAY 106.5 Palm Springs‘ and will provide the community with a daily take on what’s happening in the LGBTQ+ communities that it serves. Gay Desert Guide is already known for its comprehensive coverage of news, events, attractions and tourist information through social media and its website. .
In the coming weeks, new content and features for the combined media portal will be launched, along with a full schedule of programming, all available online at www.GayDesertGuide.LGBT and KGAYPalmSprings.com