KHTS AM 1220 has been Santa Clarita’s “Hometown Station” since 1989. After changing ownership a few times, today the station has become the vibrant voice of the community. As the only local radio station in town, its repertoire includes a mix of news, traffic, sports, adult contemporary hits and themed shows from local businesses, such as our own “The Gazette Radio Hour” every Friday from 1-2 p.m.
KHTS also has a knack for hiring talented SCV residents as radio personalities. Two of the most colorful individuals are George Cummings and T-Katz. Tune to the station on weekday mornings and let George soothe you through the morning commute. Listen in with T-Katz for your drive home and let her eccentric persona help you wind down after a long day. You can also catch the lively duo every Friday at noon when they host “Friday Matinee.” During the weekly show they share with their listeners interesting happenings in town and deliver live interviews with a bevy of guests.
Both George and T-Katz are fantastic in their own right, offering personal perspectives on local and national news in their respective time slots. Charismatic to the core, and quite different, personality-wise, they shine alone and as a team. So, read on, and get to know the morning and afternoon voices of the SCV a little better.
Wake Up with KHTS Morning DJ George Cummings
Morning commutes can be the absolute worst; the traffic here in town alone is enough to drive someone crazy. This is why it is important to find a relatable morning DJ who will get you through to the afternoon. For many Santa Clarita residents, that DJ is George Cummings, radio personality for the Morning Show at KHTS. So, grab a cup of your favorite morning coffee and let’s take a moment to delve into George’s story.
Aside from the music blaring from it, George never had much interest in radio in his youth. He stumbled upon a broadcasting program at the college where his girlfriend (now wife) attended, and before he knew it, he was going to school full-time. George soon became program director of his college radio station, as well as the morning DJ. After completing his courses, he needed to find a steady income that would support him and his new wife, and a full-time, unpaid intern position at a Los Angeles radio station wasn’t going to cut it. He was hired by a mobile DJ company after impressing them with his college radio bits and this ended up turning into an eight-year career. At the same time, he also worked at several odd jobs and eventually started his own web marketing company, which is still active today. There was a 20-year time gap from when George graduated college and his current gig at KHTS, but it all goes to show that if you’re good at something you will always find your way back … and for the past four years, he has been doing exactly that.
“It was serendipity, actually, that drew me back into radio. My wife, Margie, and I were announcing the SCV 4th of July parade, when Robin Strickland walked by to say hello. Robin had worked for the station for several years, and she mentioned to me that there was an opening to fill the morning show DJ slot. I sent Jeri Seratti-Goldman a resume and hastily prepared aircheck (Sort of an audio resume, for lack of a better term), and scored an interview,” George explains. It wasn’t smooth sailing from there, though considering how long he had been away from the microphone, there was some rigorous interview activity to follow. George continues, “Jeri wasn’t overly impressed with what she heard in my aircheck, but I somehow won her over during the interview … at least enough to get a one-hour show from 9-10 a.m. to start. She thought I’d been away from radio too long and needed to get my “chops” back. I slowly continued to win her over, and within a few months took over the helm as the Hometown Morning Show host.”
George’s artistic inspiration goes back to his childhood, when he remembers his mother always playing the radio at home. He soon learned that he could not relate to any of the personalities, therefore the music was somewhat lost on him. It wasn’t until he was 15 that he discovered KROQ, which was back then a small, unknown, punk rock station.
“KROQ is a powerhouse in radio now, but back then, they were really the first radio station to have DJs who sounded like regular people,” says George. “They had a ‘relatability’ factor that was missing from other stations. I always think back to ‘Jed the Fish’ for my inspiration. He was off-beat without trying to be funny, and still very entertaining.”
A typical weekday for George starts at 4 a.m., allowing him a solid hour for what he refers to as “Zen time.” Then, between 6 and 9 a.m., he is on the air bringing listeners updates on happenings in the Santa Clarita Valley. For new listeners, they can expect a mix of traffic, news, information, entertainment, interviews, and music from the Hometown Morning Show. George’s goal?
“To get you up, get you out, and get you to work while keeping you in a fairly good mood. I do my best to keep the show light, fun and informal, but still informational,” he says.
Catch The Hometown Morning Show with George Cummings on KHTS 1220AM Monday – Friday from 6am-9pm.
Take an Afternoon Drive with KHTS DJ T-Katz
For many of us with local commutes, we have often tuned into KHTS on our drives home and heard the voice of a quirky female DJ coming through the speakers. Broadcast radio is all about voice and personality, but this week The Gazette will be putting a face to a familiar voice and giving you a bit of insight into her life outside of the station. T-Katz is so much more than the host of your afternoon drive. She is a mother, an artist, an author, a philanthropist, and overall, just an outstanding female powerhouse.
T-Katz has been the Afternoon Drive-Time personality for over a year now, but has also co-hosted the “Friday Matinee” for almost two. One Friday afternoon she was doing impersonations for the KHTS staff and the Station Manager offered her the Afternoon Drive position. She thought he was joking, but the next day she got a call from station owner Jeri Serrati-Goldman with a serious offer.
“As a long-time actress, singer, writer and someone who never met a microphone she didn’t like … I was officially intrigued,” says T-Katz. “So, I started training. Station Manager Kyle Jellings and 30-plus year veteran radio personality Verna McKay led me through my paces for weeks. For me, the talking isn’t the hard part of the job: timing the log, juggling the interviews, researching and updating traffic reports every 10 minutes (on RAINY days, especially) and taking traffic tip phone calls … holy mother-of-pearl, it’s challenging! But, it’s also the most wonderful thing I’ve ever done.”
She moved to Santa Clarita in 1995 after searching for the right place to raise a family. After extensive research (a binder three inches thick, to be exact), she chose the SCV.
T-Katz explains, “The SCV deal was sealed the day I sat in a diner over breakfast and read some local information—every single day and night there were opportunities to serve the community here: academic, civic, spiritual, charitable … you name it! I’d never seen anything like it. There was definitely something in the Santa Clarita water and I wanted to be part of it. Right away, I became involved with a mom’s group (Mothers Unlimited, Inc.) and I’m still friends with women I met from the first Halloween events at the Sheriff’s station and Lombardi Ranch. Over the years, I worked as a volunteer at my children’s schools, whether at the academic level, arts and/or sports, and loved every minute of it. I’ve been a music and performance coach to hundreds of kids over the years, and I’ve been grateful to have their families become a part of mine.”
So, what can KHTS listeners expect from T-Katz on the Afternoon Drive-Time radio show? Local news, traffic, weather, sports, “Entertainment Tonight Radio Minute” with Mary Hart, interviews and, of course, your favorite music, but what makes the show unique is the charisma and soul she brings to the radio. She humbly sums it up in one word—heart.
“For me,” she explains, “every aspect of what I’m asked to give to our hometown (traffic, news stories, events) needs to have a human heartbeat attached. [My listeners] are going to hear my heartbreak, my sympathy and my feelings on a topic—no matter what it is.”
You can catch T-Katz Monday through Friday from 3-7 p.m. on KHTS AM 1220.