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A conversation with ... Sunny FM General Manager Dave Herald.

The radio industry in the Wenatchee Valley has a "Name that Tune" or, perhaps, a "Six Degrees of Separation" quality to it with familiar names--and voices--popping up on the playlist of ever-changing formats and call letters.

One of those in the mix for nearly 40 years here is Dave Herald, who set his goal as a 9-year-old of owning his own radio station.

He has done that at least twice.

For the past seven years he has been living his dream as part-owner, general manager, sales manager, national sales manager, program director, cheerleader--and on-air news guy with his "Dave in the Morning" show at Sunny FM, more technically known as KCSY-FM 106.3 (also found on the FM dial at 101.9, 101.3, 107.7, 93.9 and 95.3, depending where you are in Okanogan, Chelan, Douglas or Grant counties).

The startup station whose owner, Resort Radio LLC includes Herald, Kent Phillips and Dave Bauer, is based in Twisp, which presented some challenges in July and August with a sequence of wildfires that knocked the station off the air for a day-and-a-half when the Loup Loup power line went down. A valiant effort by Sunny FM's crew got the station back on the air and able to provide updates to residents through a scary couple of weeks that included several more power failures and fire threats.

With the excitement dampened for now, though each day brings the opportunity for a new challenge, the Wenatchee Business Journal sat down with Herald at his Wenatchee office at 33 N. Chelan Ave., to find out what keeps him going, how the industry has changed and what the future holds.

Wenatchee Business Journal: You grew up in Bellevue. How did you land in Wenatchee?

Dave Herald: I started in Wenatchee in 1976 with Jim Corcoran, the present owner of the AppleSox. He was a year ahead of me at Washington State University. He and Carl Tyler, who later was in the news department at KPQ, came here in 1976 from Walla Walla, and they hired me from Tri Cities.

We took over a station here called KMEL AM 1340. In 1985, Jim Corcoran added an FM station from Quincy, which became KW3-FM, a Top 40s station.

Then, in 1990, Kent Phillips, who also had worked with Jim Corcoran in the early 1980s, he and I bought the radio stations.

We brought on Don Bernier, who was an institution here in the Wenatchee Valley. He had worked for KWNW, which it was called before KMEL. He was on the air in the 1950s and '60s, for years and years. He was still there when Jim Corcoran bought the station.

We brought him back in 1990, Phillips and I, and made the AM-1340 Solid Gold, brought back all the music that everyone grew up with, back in the '50s, '60s and '70s.

In 1992, we changed the AM 1340 to a Spanish station, creating the first 24-hour Spanish station in the Wenatchee Valley. It was La Super Z and its call letters were KWWX1340.

WBJ: A bold move?

Herald: Yes, but we saw what was coming in the valley years and years ago and it was a good decision. It was time to bring the cultures together. And we had the vision to see what was happening in the Valley. We felt that sector needed to be served.

The reason we made that switch, is that, remember we were Solid Gold with Don Brenier. And that lasted for a couple years, it was great.

Then all of a sudden, KXA Solid Gold went on the air, which was 99.5.

We decided we better make a switch. People weren't listening to AM stations as much and so we said, "Well, what can we put on there that would fill a void and format-wise also that would meet a community need and be viable?" So that's the reason we went to Spanish.

Then in 1994 we added a station called KZPH-FM and made it a classic rock station. Its frequency was 106.7. Of course now 106.7 is Spanish, La Super Z. And KWWX is now The Zone, owned by Cherry Creek.

WBJ: But before Cherry Creek, it was Fisher?

Herald: Right. Let me back up. In 1996, Fisher Radio bought KW3 AM and FM and KZPH.

Fisher is where Kent Phillips worked. He is currently the longest-reigning morning man on STAR 101.5, KPLZ Seattle. He's the program director and has been the morning guy, with the "Kent and Alan Show" for the past 22-23 years.

Phelps Fisher, who was one of the main parts of the Fisher family, asked if we would sell and we said OK.

Kent and I, we weren't looking to sell the stations. We were approached and, taking a look at consolidation on the horizon, we felt it would be in our best interest to go that direction.

We knew Fisher. We knew their philosophy, their integrity and that they would probably give us some control. So that was fine.

So we moved our three radio stations to that building where they are currently, where Cherry Creek is.

That was the Fisher building for 10 years. I served as national sales manager and continued to do mornings on KW3. I was the morning guy for 30 years.

WBJ: How was it going to work for someone else?

Herald: Fisher gave us pretty good autonomy. Larry Roberts was the head of the regional radio group. When Fisher bought us, he also bought Larry Roberts' group in Montana--Missoula, Butte, Great Falls. So he became the regional manager for the group in Montana and Wenatchee.

So, to answer your question, they gave the managers local control, which was good.

Then in 2006, Cherry Creek Radio began to make an offer to Fisher Broadcasting to sell the radio division. That's the Montana stations and five Wenatchee stations. So that sale was complete in 2006 or 2007.

Kent and I had already approached Fisher about adding this new station that we were in the process of creating. We went to them and said, "We're thinking of doing this."

I was just going to be a passive investor and I would have stayed with Fisher and then Cherry Creek, but four months into the operation Cherry Creek decided to make a change and let me go. They chose not to go that direction, with Sunny FM.

So Dave Herald leaves. And in 2007, we formed Resort Radio LLC, which is me, Kent Phillips and David Bauer, who also is from the Tri Cities, though his parents actually have a history in the Wenatchee Valley and owned a business in downtown Wenatchee.

So we launched Sunny FM, the Greatest Hits of All Time, which was a format that was not served, believe it or not, at that point.

WBJ: How do you go about creating a new station? The signal was there?

Herald: Yes, the signal was there. It was a small station in Twisp. And Kent and I had consulted Donn Fry, who was the owner. There were some things that happened with employees and some shuffling and he decided to sell.

He tried to make a go of it with a translator in Chelan.

We found out about it. And we had a relationship with the translator owner in Chelan, which allowed us to not only maintain the antenna in Chelan, but to put an antenna in the Okanogan Valley, Pateros, Brewster and Wenatchee, and, you get the picture.

It gives us almost a four-county coverage area, from Tonasket, covers Wenatchee Valley, the Methow Valley, the Okanogan Valley, and goes all the way to Crescent Bar.

WBJ: But at that time, the radio stations in Wenatchee were consolidating?

Herald: When I left, Cherry Creek had not yet bought KPQ. They owned KYSN Country and Apple FM and our three radio stations. About a year later, they bought KPQ AM and FM.

And see, that's why we had suggested Sunny FM, because they didn't have the full boat yet. You can only have so many radio stations, only so much coverage of audience or it counts as a monopoly.

WBJ: So the timing was good?

Herald: Yes, it was great timing for us.

Of course my relationships helped. I'd been here at that point, 30-some years. 2016 will be my 40th anniversary being on air in Wenatchee. And this coming year I will be director general of Apple Blossom Festival.

So, I've been tied in to the community.

One of the successes of the radio station has been our relationships. We have community partners like Apple Blossom, Wings and Wheels, Classy Chassis, Chelan's Pristine Mahogony and Merlot Boating Event. The hydroplane races that we used to put on in our KW3 days, we took those over, Sunny FM.

We have a great relationship with the Omak Stampede and the Okanogan Fair.

Part of our success has been to network and partner, and, of course, my relationship with clients and our philosophy of service and professionalism.

WBJ: How is the competition? We always hear that radio is very competitive.

Herald: We have 14 to 16 signals in this market. You have three major players.

You have Cherry Creek, which has KPQ AM and FM, Apple FM, KW3, The Zone, KYSN.

Then you have Morris Communications, the Columbia River Media group. They have 104.7 The Country, KKRV FM, and ESPN AM 900 here. They also own KWIQ, the country station in Moses Lake and the AM in that market, which is also ESPN. And they own the Spanish station, which is actually out of Wilson City, which is really Moses Lake, La Nueva.

So, they have country here and there, sports here and there and the Spanish that starts at 100.3, I think. They get that out of Wilson City and grab it here on 92.1 with another antenna.

So there's that group.

Then the third group is Icicle Broadcasting.

The fairly recent move there is Harriet Bullitt bought the KPQ building for a nice price, and moved KOHO, which is still licensed in Leavenworth. They moved the studio right across the alley way from Sunny FM. And they have KZAL FM, their new country station is in that building. They also own KOZI AM and FM, which resides in Chelan.

WBJ: They said they made that move to Wenatchee because of advertising.

Herald: Well, I think they finally realized, "Why aren't we getting our fair share of the market?"

Now they have different formats and you can go different directions on the philosophy of why they did. But KOHO has its own unique format. KOZI is more of a public affairs, middle of the road, music station.

From a KOHO standpoint, they were doing a great job in the Leavenworth valley, but people didn't envision them as a Wenatchee station.

I won't give you a specific percentage, but we do the majority of our business in the Wenatchee Valley. So even though our main license is in Twisp, we've moved almost everything here. We still have our control board and office up there and sales people up there. But this is where the business is.

They saw the light. And being that she got the building for a pretty good price. And they have some good employees, many of which have worked for me.

Elliott Salmon, who is the GM over there. I hired him as my night-time DJ at KW3 years ago--many years ago. And he's probably one of the youngest general managers in the market, but I think he's doing a great job.

Mike Moore is a salesman. He used to be the manager at Apple-FM.

After 40 years, everyone has either worked for me or we know each other pretty well. I have the luxury of walking into the majority of stations and recognizing someone.

WBJ: Was that a worry when they moved?

Herald: Not really. We haven't felt an impact. It's a different format and they cater to a different audience, but obviously clients have only so much budget.

We had a seven year start with our relationships and we partner as Elliott understands.

I think he's starting to partner with other entities as well. Whether its the race track or race car.

WBJ: The AppleSox.

Herald: Yes, we took the AppleSox away from KPQ.

WBJ: Was that a good get?

Herald: Yes. It was a good programming and financial move for us. We are in the process of signing a multi-year agreement with Jim Corcoran, former general manager and my boss. So, it all comes together.

WBJ: How many employees do you have?

Herald: Full-time is me, Teri Moser, my office manager, she's also in sales; Debbie Griggs who used to be our operations manager in Twisp, but she's getting married and moved to Wenatchee. She's still, once or twice a week, going up to call on her clients in the Methow Valley. That's a challenge for her.

I'm doing news and sports now, on top of everything else I do. She's hired mainly to fill .a sales position here in Wenatchee. She still does some public affairs and quarterly issues for us, PSAs and post-production.

And then we have Ray McEwen, part-time. He's the son of Greg McEwen, the former general manager of KPQ. He is the PSA director and is on the programming side, does the "Drive at 5," a show we do Monday through Friday, and he fills in for me.

Then we have other people. We probably need more people, but we have people who fill in, on call. Dan Kuntz, who is out of the business right now, he fills in for some remote broadcasts.

Another name who used to be at KPQ is Eric Granstrom. He used to be our sports and news director, as a part-time employee. He left for a fulltime position at KKRV. Now he has his own company and he does work for KOMO News on the weekends and has his own Internet website company. So he's busy, but I call on him and, thank goodness, he was there.

When we went off the air due to the firestorm, it was our engineer, Lonnie England, and Dave Bauer, who I brought out of retirement who is still an equity partner.

They slept on cots at the Twisp building keeping the radio station on the air so we could serve the community.

In the early week of that firestorm, KOZI was off the air because of their antenna, KRoot was off because the Internet was down.

Once we fired up the building and got up there in about a day, we had to have somebody up there.

What we have right now is Internet over fiber, so we can send commercials and my show and public service announcements from Wenatchee to Twisp, but that Internet was severed. So we had to have a physical person there. Debbie had already moved down.

So I sent up Lonnie, the engineer, and Dave Bauer went up to fill in and Eric went up, as I did for a little while. We set up a hot spot through Verizon and created a whole new FTP fiber relay which allowed us to transfer things there from here.

Still, we had to keep the lights on, so someone had to fill up the 3,000-watt propane generator that activated the radio station.

WBJ: Whose generator?

Herald: The station's. We had one.

Part of the challenge in the Methow Valley, which those who live there understand, is the unstable power grid.

There is one main line on Loup Loup Road and once that goes down--as it just did again yesterday, and I had to send another person up, just to fire up the generator.

I'm in the process of having Mike Hicks of North Cascades Propane--he was the hero up there. He was the guy who we went to. He was influential in helping keep us on the air. We would take our bottles and get them filled up.

So, we're in the process of setting up with him, a 100-gallon propane tank, and hope to do a total automated generation system.

WBJ: So the generators would automatically come on?

Herald: That's the goal. We're not there yet. He's going to pour the slab and put in the 100-gallon propane tank.

We might have to get a different generator, but the goal is so Dave and Dave and Lonnie and Eric don't have to go up. I even had Ken Johannessen on hold to go up there.

It's nice to have friends in small places.

Actually what really should be done, in my opinion, and this is something we haven't applied for, but I'm going to bring this up to the Washington State Association of Broadcasters.

One of the needs of the Methow Valley is to hook in a major generator into that power grid system.

The question is, are there FEMA funds? Now that what I predicted would happen has happened, the Okanogan PUD, maybe, via the help of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, if that's a possibility, we don't know. We're going to try to make a request. We're looking into how can we get a huge generator hooked into that grid, as a lot of cities have. Or some alternative power source, so Dave Herald can have a life.

WBJ: Normally how often does the power go out?

Herald: It's about four to seven times a year.

WBJ: But usually in the winter?

Herald: Well, lately it's been because of fires.

We're fine with our antenna system. Our main signal is on McClure Mountain, up above Twisp. The Methow Valley Television Association put a diesel generator in there, so when the power goes bye-bye, it automatically starts. We want to do the same thing down in Twisp on our building, which we don't own.

But from a bigger picture standpoint, it makes sense to try and get that grid either upgraded with a more sophisticated system or have a backup system, whether it's a huge diesel generator or whatever it may be. It would be nice to have FEMA funds to do that.

I've been so busy cleaning up and get back on track from fires and thunderstorms. Like last night, we were off the air again for an hour.

WBJ: You get a phone call?

Herald: There's usually a person in the office who calls and says, "We lost power." After hours, it's an automated phone call that comes to us.

We have back up batteries for two or three hours, so we have that window to get up there. If someone calls the radio station after hours, they get my cell phone, which is a safe-guard.

WBJ: Has the technology, with cell phones and all, changed things?

Herald: Oh, absolutely. Fifteen years ago, you couldn't do what we're doing. I can bring the radio station up on my cell phone and see what's going on, the music and everything.

And we are going to build redundant systems here in the Wenatchee office. We are going to mirror everything, just in case.

WBJ: When the fire happened, did you get much warning?

Herald: We are tuned into the Okanogan County Emergency Management system, so we get calls and emails that come directly to the radio station. So, we know pretty well what's coming. You could just track the weather.

Generally Okanogan County PUD is our contact and our source. But in the case of the fire, it was the Okanogan Sheriff's Office and the Okanogan County Emergency Management.

Most of the devastation happened in Carlton, Pateros and Alta Lake. It didn't take out Twisp. But it took out the power. You have to realize, Loup Loup feeds Winthrop and Twisp, but also Carlton, Methow, Pateros, Brewster and a big part of Okanogan.

More reason to have FEMA learn something from this even.

I don't want to tell the government what to do, but I hope someone has suggested that and I'm going to make an attempt, through the WSAB. To see if that's a viable option.

Then, of course, two weeks after that, they had the raging fire that started in Winthrop and went toward Twisp. That was a concern. It was creeping up on Liberty High School. You could sit at the football field and see this roaring flame approaching. They got hold of it through aerial attacks.

WBJ: How long were you off the air?

Herald: In the initial firestorm, we were off the air about a day and a half.

But we couldn't get there. We would have been there sooner, but they wouldn't allow us in. We had a helicopter option, but they said no, they heeded the aerial for the return planes. I was ready to parachute in. I mean, you know. Not only was power out, Internet was out. 911 went out. KRoot was out in the very beginning and so was KOZI's translator. We were it. It was our responsibility to get up there as quickly as we could. We did everything humanly possible to get up there.

And once we did, we had the mayor on, the sheriff on, the emergency management people on, directing and giving information. And we were doing constant fire updates.

WBJ: They were still doing evacuations then?

Herald: Right. We had Level 1, 2 and 3. People were looking to us for information. They couldn't log onto the Internet.

One of the greatest assets for us was the blog of the Okanogan Emergency Management Department. We were very careful to document and not create panic, not try to exagerrate. These were peoples homes and their lives.

WBJ: Who did the broadcasting?

Herald: We had many people. Eric Granstrom, Dave Bauer. Me. Initially, I did a lot of the fire updates from here.

I would send those reports up, once we had the alternate FTP site set up, but initially those reports came directly from the offices in Twisp.

That went on for a week-and-a-half or two weeks.

Following that was another rather concerning fire from Winthrop to Twisp. And now we have the thunderstorms and lightning strikes.

People really begin to value their radio stations. They don't take them for granted when something like this happens. Radio is still, regardless of what a lot of people say, the source. Sometimes the lifeline.

The immediacy of radio.

This morning, we did a flash flood warning and I did a special report, as did other radio stations. They had to evacuate 25-Mile Creek and the city park in Chelan. So here we go. I mean when is it going to end? Let's just get summer over with and we're looking forward to the holidays when there's snow on the ground to extinguish everything.

WBJ: Is this recent excitement the biggest thing you guys have had to deal with?

Herald: There weren't a whole lot of fires last year. It's been an unusual year with the amount of fires and impact the fires have had, but the poor air quality. And frankly, just the smoke, the continual smoke. I don't remember smoke being around for more than a month. Obviously, it's not good. It's not healthy. It hasn't been good for business, especially in the Leavenworth and Chelan areas.

But, have we seen a downward slide in income? 1 don't think so. It does make you work a little harder. Obviously, getting out firestorm and thunder and Level 1, 2 and 3 evacuation updates take time, and business goes to the bottom of the scale because people are most important.

WBJ: Any lessons learned besides the need for a backup system?

Herald: I think it's taught all of us to make sure we have the right contacts.

I think the Okanogan Sheriff's Department and Okanogan Emergency Management Department did a great job keeping the media, both radio and newspaper, abreast of level evacuations and road closures. Several times, there were people, because they're so curious about the fire, that the fire officials couldn't get on the roads.

WBJ: Anything you would do differently?

Herald: Not really. You're at the mercy of mother nature. You react. We have a plan that everybody gets together and everybody knows they need to share in the process of making sure the community is safe and informed. That's our primary responsibility. We're accountable and should be accountable.

But changes? I don't know. I don't want to get into politics, but you wonder if there should be a PIO.

There was not really one person we could go to for information. But there were so many agencies. That's a tough one.

You have the forest faction. And the sheriff --Sheriff Rogers up there. And eventually they had the meetings, and there was a guy there.

I guess it would be nice to have a PIO identified early that the media could go to. But in all fairness to the number of agencies and the complexity. The DNR, the Sheriff. You know, that's a tough one.

WBJ: How long will it take for you to get back to normal?

Herald: I think we're back to normal. In, radio, there is always something going on. Some organization or some news event.

That's sort of the fun and excitement of radio. There's always a new story, or a new promotional idea.

I wish I had a couple more Teris, a couple more Dave Heralds and Debbies. But you do what you can.

I hate over-taxing people. I felt we sort of did that, especially with our contracted engineer, Lonnie England. He has a lot of responsibility on his TV stations and all of his sites. He went way beyond the call of duty and was very fair to us and very available.

WBJ: What kind of response did you get from the public?

Herald: You know, they just assumed we would do it. We're not looking for any awards or anything. I'm hoping we did what they expected. We're a music-intensive radio station. We do news in the morning and we feel we cover the main stories from a sports, national, local standpoint. We pride ourselves on our break-in format, especially for our city of license.

You know, Wenatchee may not want to hear about fire updates in the Methow Valley, but there were fires affecting everyone. We didn't get any complaints.

WBJ: What's your normal day to day schedule

Herald: I get up 4:45 in the morning and report here at 5:15 or 5:30. I actually do the sports and news updates in the morning from here and send that up. Then I do the updates, sports and news twice an hour and weather twice an hour. Then I do any commercials I need to record or promos. It's pretty quiet here until about 8.

Then I do a lot of interviews with all sorts of community partners, whether it's Apple Blossom, or any of our other community partners who want to come in, the WDA or city of Wenatchee or Chelan.

So from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. I'm a pretty busy guy.

And I'm fielding phone calls and searching for important weather updates.

WBJ: All the news stuff?

Herald: Yes, I'm the news and sports guy. Debbie doesn't do that anymore. She's more in sales now and public affairs and has moved down here.

WBJ: So you weren't doing that before?

Herald: No, it's an added responsibility. I've been doing it since June. Eric Granstrom was doing it before and then I had Ray doing it and Debbie. I was always the fill-in guy. Now I'm doing it.

So instead of getting here at 6, I'm getting here earlier.

WBJ: And the rest of your day?

Herald: Then I'll put on my general manager/sales hat. I do the bulk of the billing at, the radio station, mainly because, of my relationships, But Debbie is in sales and so is Teri.

On a day-to-day basis I'm responsible for getting out all of our advertising packages, whether it's the AppleSox or promotions that we've been doing. I record all of our promos.

Like we're doing the big Boston Patio Party at the Windmill, putting that together, partnering with Pepsi and getting the tickets from Jennifer Bushong and, you know.

So I'm sort of the main utility, promotional guy. And then I'm the face of the station in terms of outside. I do a lot of emceeing, a lot of remote broadcasts.

WBJ: If you had your way, would that change?

Herald: Yeah. It would be a luxury to get in here at 8. I would like to put some things in place, as we grow and revenue increases, I foresee myself getting more into the management and programming.

Oh, and I'm the program director, too. So I'm owner, general manager, sales manager, national sales manager, program director and cheerleader.

WBJ: All very vital roles.

Herald: Right. And I'm working 14-hour days. How long can you keep doing that? Fortunately I'm very healthy, but how long can one maintain this insanity?

A lot of it comes from passion. And I'm very healthy. I work out three days a week. I've had the same personal trainer for 14 years. I keep in shape. I try to eat healthy, not that I don't have a few drinks once in a while.

But I try to live a healthy life style.

WBJ: Do you thrive on the stress?

Herald: I don't really see it as a stress. Other people worry about me and think I'm stressed out, but I tend to be somewhat energetic. I hate to say Type A personality, but I'm pretty up. Would I like more sleep? Yeah. Would I like to take a two-week vacation? Yeah.

WBJ: In the past seven years, has the company grown as you expected?

Herald: It actually took off more quickly than we anticipated. We were profitable in about six months.

WBJ: What were you expecting?

Herald: Well, generally, any startup business you're there for at least a year before that happens. You know, it takes time, money and capital. We had capital so we knew we had to put some money into promotion, which we did.

We were on billboards. We continue to be on billboards, buses, newspaper, Facebook.

When you're only one entity, that's an additional reason to partner with people, to brand the radio station in the community, whether it's Wings & Wheels or Classy Chassis or the hydroplane races in Chelan.

It's a very well-thought-of radio station. It's one of those feel-good stations. Our intent is to be a feel-good radio station, the music you grew up with, to be fun, energetic and hopefully a station that if people who have had a bad day, especially those up north, they can tune to something that might bring them a little cheer and happiness, get away from their daily troubles.

But I'm all about giving back to the community. We have a scholarship we set up with Wenatchee High School, through Dave Riggs' department and we also will be doing two internships with two of their students to see which direction they want to go in communications.

WBJ: On air stuff?

Herald: It depends. We're trying to cater to their wants and where they want to go. One wants to be more broadcast news. The other wants more of an overall, how does a radio station work, the advertising department, news and public affairs, promotions, a full gamut.

They're only going to be here an hour a week, but they get credit for it. We're just starting that this year. And we made a $500 scholarship donations for one of their scholarships up there. I think we will continue that.

We planned to be very community oriented. That's just me. That's how we've always been, how I've operated.

WBJ: Have you had to tweak anything from your original plan?

Herald: We were going to buy about three radio stations about four years ago, in the Ephrata area. The company we were going to buy them from went bankrupt. That's why we have these additional studios here. So that changed.

As it turned out, that was the year the economy went, so it was a blessing.

As if the right opportunity came along, we may take a look. We're always looking to expand the signal and maybe grab another property if that became available.

WBJ: So what do you see five years in the future? Do you have an exit strategy?

Herald: I don't really have an exit strategy. I think I have another five- or 10-year window.

I have some goals financially that I would like to reach for the radio station. It seems like every seven or eight years we go buy something, Kent and I. Sometimes you get bored with whatever you're doing.

I'm not saying I'm bored. We've had our challenges. But we have the infrastructure and antennas and have expanded the signal. And we would like to get maybe into other markets, if it's by purchasing another entity or just expanding our signal.

I would like to free up myself so I have a little more time, but ...

WBJ: Industry wise, what do you see happening in the next five years?

Herald: I think in medium-size markets like Wenatchee, there are a lot of low power FM stations coming in, a lot of them are educational. But I don't think you'll see Sirius, X-M or Pandora take over because they haven't got to the point where they can really talk to the community on a local level.

As long as radio stations continue to make an effort to truly be part of the community and help out, help with its issues and help get out information ...

WBJ: Stuff you have to be here for?

Herald: Yes. People still look to the radio. Yes, you can log onto the computer for the weather, but if you see lightning, odds are your radio, station or the emergency system will kick in and tell you what you need to do.

But if we do our job as radio stations and serve the community, and act as their partner, I think we'll be successful.

The whole new thing will be digital signals. There probably will be some radio stations in this market that will go digital. What I mean by that is HD, high definition signal.

You can have an HD signal if you go to a different transmitter, or attach a unit to your existing antenna.

A lot of them have brand new HD transmitters that not only allow you to do a regular analog signal, but also an HD signal.

The only way to get the HD signal is if you have an HD radio. So in the next five years, you'll see HD radios, but those of us who have translators, we can take the HD signal that nobody can get now because there are no HD radios in the car, and we, or another entity, can take that now and add new formats.

Say you have two HD signals and two different antennas. You could go put on two new formats.

You'll probably see that coming to the market.

WBJ: Is that an expensive thing?

Herald: Yes, you have to invest in the new transmitter, or the unit, and you have to get the domain name, the rights for HD.

So that's why small stations in small markets have not done it yet. But the bigger groups in this valley will probably go in that direction.

WBJ: What's the difference for the radio listener?

Herald: That advantage for the listener is more fine-tuned programming. There's probably a lot of people who want to have a station like jazz. What I'm saying is it will give the listener more variety, believe it or not, as if there's not enough variety here. You could put smooth jazz on one of them or all sports or whatever it may be.

The true HD would be a clearer signal. We're clear now, but nobody has it because there are no radios. It will be here if you could get it on translators. It would go to the normal FM radio. So that will clutter up the dial even more.

WBJ: Is that a concern?

Herald: It depends. They have to go sell it. It will be another format. It depends on how they execute it.

We're pretty confident in terms of our format. The thing about our format, "The Greatest Hits of All Time," even though we're 60s, 70s and 80s, we can shift it up or down pretty easily, which we've done.

THE PROFILE

Dave Herald

Title: General manager/partner of Resort Radio LLC, which owns KCSY-FM, aka Sunny FM.

Age: 62

Hometown: Medina/Bellevue. He moved to Wenatchee in 1976 and has been here ever since.

Education: Bellevue High School, then Washington State University, on a full-ride track scholarship. He earned a bachelor's degree in communications.

Career: After college, he took a radio job at KALE, owned by SRO (Sterling Recreation Organization) in Tri Cities, then came to work in Wenatchee, with Jim Corcoran and Carl Tyler, at what was then KMEL and became KWWW AM and then FM. He has been on the air in Wenatchee since then. Herald and Kent Phillips bought KWWW from Corcoran in 1990, sold it to Fisher Radio in 1996. Herald continued to work for Fisher, which sold the stations to Cherry Creek Radio in 2006. He and Phillips started KCSY-FM, Sunny FM, in 2007, after buying the station from Donn Fry.

Community: Washington State Apple Blossom Festival Director General of 2015 (involved in the festival since 1976), member of The Exchange Club of Wenatchee, Eagles and Wenatchee Applarians. He also serves on the Washington State Association of Broadcasters board.

Family: Married to Linda (who works as director of sales for the Wenatchee Convention Center and was elected to the Wenatchee City Council in 2011). He has a stepson, son, three grandchildren and one-great grandson.

Deep dark secret: He has a twin brother, who is a teacher for the Seattle School District. His sister is a clinical psychologist in Tacoma.

Darker secret: Dave Herald likes to sing--"Usually all the old Frank Sinatra stuff."

THE PROFILE--SUNNY FM

Owners: Resort Radio LLC (Dave Herald, Kent Phillips and Dave Bauer)

Year purchased: 2006

Format: Greatest Hits of all Time (Classic rock)

Call letters: KCSY-FM 106.3, with "city of license" in Twisp (covering Twisp, Winthrop and Carlton), with six translators that spread the signal from the Canadian border to the Columbia Basin. That's 101.9-FM Okanogan and Omak (toward Tonasket); 101.3-FM Brewster; 107.7 Pateros; 95.3 Chelan; 93.9 Wenatchee and the newest, 97.1 that boosts the signal to Highway 28 and Crescent Bar, and to the Upper Valley toward Leavenworth and Cashmere.

The new translator was added about two months ago, Herald said.

"The number on the license is Twisp, but we're considered a Wenatchee Valley station because of all the promotion and tie-ins with the community," Herald said.

Number of employees: 3 full-time, I part-time and some on-call, contract employees.

Offices: 109 S. Glover, Twisp and 33 N. Chelan in Wenatchee.
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Author:McDaniels, Nevonne
Publication:Wenatchee Business Journal
Article Type:Interview
Date:Sep 1, 2014
Words:6566
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