The KSEY Chronicles Ch3: From Tex Mex to ESPN, Better than Kissing Your Sister
So I called ESPN 103.3 in Dallas, asked them how do I become an ESPN affilliate. They give me the syndication contact info. I make the call about 9AM on a weekday morning, they explain the agreement. “You run one of our ESPN national commercials every commerical break (4 per hour) and you got it. I’m thinking ok, so how much is the fee to be the ESPN affilliate. They say ‘it’s a barter agreement’ Everytime I hear ‘barter’ from someone in the media they want me to trade them a free car in exchange for airtime. After a few more questions, I realize all I have to do is play 4 min of ESPN nationally sold commercials on 1230 per hour and that’s IT?!! OK, we’ll can you send me a contract saying that? They said, sure, can you send me some proof that it’s your station? I say, hang on…I’ll call you right back.
So I frantically call Mark at the station. “Mark, will you do XYZ if I take this station?” He replies YES, I say OK. Someone from ESPN is going to call you to flip the format, are you cool with that. He said ‘when, and are you sure about this Wolfe?” I answer “YES SIR, and we have a deal, right?” Literally an hour later, ESPN calls Mark, he say’s yes, they fax me a contract before lunch that day, and we had a deal.
One thing I noticed was the signal was there within 100 miles of the transmitter site, but it had that damned obnoxious scratchy/choppy AM feel. I told Mark, I want it to sound better. We can’t build what we want with a half ass sound…how do we do that? He explained an Orban processor would make all the differnece in the world. He’d shot me straight this long, so I took his word for it and ordered up an extremely expensive Orban AM/HD audio processor. We installed it at the transmitter site, and all of the sudden the hispanic population listening to KSEY was getting a cleaner, crisper signal. It took alot of tweaking and tuning. I’d be on the highway listening on the AM. Simutaineously talking with a technician from Oraban in CA, and Mark at the transmitter site. The tech woudl give us a setting suggestion over the phone, Mark would adjust the setting and I would report back to Mark the change in the audio. This took some time, and the tech’s patience was running thin, but we were working on a tight budget and couldnt afford to hire an expensive engineer to do this for us.
We got close, it was sounding close to my expectations, but not quite there. So now we needed to make the format flip. The problem with this was the current TexMex station was housed in KSEY-AM office in a downtown building in Wichita Falls, and they did not know yet about the new deal. Mark and I were both dreading telling the Spanish format employees the station was under new managment and they were all goign to be let go, and the stations air studio was moving to Vernon Texas.
Ch4 posed in a few days. If you’ve followed this far, you are either stalking me (PG) or have the radio bug too.