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KCMX teams up with KDOV

Radio Medford's KCMX-AM news/talk station took a leap of faith earlier this month when it began airing KDOV's 6-9 a.m. morning radio and television news simulcast.

It's a rare agreement enabling Mapleton Communications-owned KCMX to plug a programming gap while extending the reach of religious broadcaster KDOV, which brands itself as TheDove.

"This is an innovative thing and certainly unique for Mapleton Communications," said Joe Mussio, general manager for Radio Medford Digital.

With six stations in the local market, Radio Medford didn't have the resources to recreate what KDOV has built on the radio and television airwaves, Mussio said.

The confluence was broached while the stations were working on a transmitter tower project earlier this year. When KCMX's "Sunrise Show" host Craig Fronek departed a few weeks ago, Mussio seized the opportunity.

"I've been in been in broadcasting over 40 years and in Christian broadcasting 33 of those years, and I've never seen anything like this," said Perry Atkinson, president of United Christian Broadcasters USA. "Joe wanted a good, solid, reliable and respectable newscast, and we wanted an opportunity to reach more people."

The newscast is broadcast over four FM stations and nine translators from the coast to Central Oregon, low-power TV Channel 44 and on Charter cable in Jackson, Josephine and Klamath counties, Roku and streamed on line.

"We've had a lot of positive response," Atkinson said. "The AM channel makes us more accessible to people who are in their cars or at home when they're in a mountainous area."

Although non-commercial stations don't show up in reported ratings used by commercial operations, Atkinson said KDOV has been consistent in the No. 4 morning drive time.

"I can't help but think (KCMX) will do very well in the morning ratings," he said.

Atkinson said the station avoids bickering and screaming on its shows.

"We actually allow people to complete their sentences," he said. "We know our listeners and viewers are looking for commentary and interviews done in a respectful way. Even if we disagree, we let them fully explain their position."

KCMX drops in advertising spots during KDOV breaks. In keeping with TheDove's format, no alcohol, tobacco, marijuana or adult products are promoted during the three-hour run.

"I think our line was, 'anything that was offensive to a church-going grandma,'" Atkinson said.

While KDOV has designs on widening its overall coverage, Atkinson said there won't be a shift in the station's approach.

"We're not changing what we are, who we are or our mission as a Christian-based broadcaster," he said. "What we're finding is we're acceptable to a broader audience than one can imagine. The main source of our content is new, but we're also reaching them with a message of hope."

Atkinson and Steve Johnson anchor the news show with Demi DeSoto rounding out the on-air crew.

The move brings to an end KCMX's once-preeminent local talk radio show, perhaps best well-known during the decade and a half that the show was hosted by Rosemary and Garth Harrington, who signed off in 2008. Other hosts included former Jackson County sheriff and commissioner C.W. Smith and Russ Batzer, president of Batzer Construction.

Radio Medford has partnered with television stations KDRV and KTVL for news feeds in the past, but not to the same degree that it is with KDOV.

"We're trendsetters," Mussio said. "It's a program that's going to be different, with a broad reach, not just one demographic. It's one that people want."

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or business@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GregMTBusiness, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/greg.stiles.31.

From left, Steve Johnson, Perry Atkinson and Polina Leiser are shown on the set of the morning news show at TheDove. Submitted photo