We got a press release late last week for a new digital station that I’m thoroughly enjoying: Pulse Radio. It’s a LGBTQ oriented HD2 channel extending KMVQ-FM of San Francisco, home to the Bay Area deejay duo Fernando and Greg and afternoon host St. John. Lots of Ke$ha, Marina and the Diamonds, Martin Solveig and similar tunes streaming 24/7, plus the deejays holding forth between sets. You can check it out on radio.com.
Fernando and Greg are a big deal over at KMVQ. They do the morning drive segment for the CBS station, serving up a steady patois of gossip and humor with a sympathetic ear towards LGTBQ causes and events. But I remember when it was not so certain what was going to happen to them. Back in 2009 they worked for KNGY-FM, aka “Energy 92.7,” which billed itself as San Francisco’s lone independently owned commercial music signal. Their morning show was the first gay oriented commercial version in the United States. Bay Area radio listeners loved it.
All the more reason why San Franciscans went to the mattresses when KNGY changed hands and the new management cancelled the format. Suddenly a “Save Energy 92.7” Facebook group sprung up with 6,000 members. The city’s Board of Supervisors passed a resolution asking the station to keep its LGBTQ orientation. I went so far as to phone the new owner, who accused me on calling him on his “personal number” (actually it was the contact number he put on his FCC license form). I asked him some polite questions, like would he consider keeping Fernando and Greg on board and such.
“Beg your pardon?” he sullenly responded. “This is obviously a joke.” Clearly Fernando and Greg were not coming back.
But they persevered. By October of 2009 they launched a podcast on Stitcher mobile radio and by November they had returned to the Bay Area FM airwaves via KMVQ. Now they serve up the morning drive, a regular KMVQ podcast, plus Pulse. I like to think of Fernando and Greg as two radio pioneers who have managed to navigate the rocky terrain of Internet radio and surface with their localness and identities in one piece. Kudos to CBS for helping them make that happen.