The latest development in local radio is not music to the ears of Canyon Country residents.
After a quarter of a century in Canyon Country, KHTS AM-1220 (formerly KBET) moved from its familiar location on Soledad Canyon and Camp Plenty to Main Street in Old Town Newhall.
When you think about it, the irony strikes you. Owners Carl and Jeri Goldman moved the station into the old Newhall Hardware, which opened in 1947, bringing with them progressive, upgraded equipment that reflect the revolutionary changes in 21st century media.
The forward-thinking of the facility is a bridge to the future, ironically placed in Old Town Newhall, a self-proclaimed bridge to the past.
“All of our equipment is digital. The new technology is amazing. There is so much more we can do with it,” said Carl Goldman.
The move was, in fact, a good opportunity for the owners to update their operation.
“It is different in every way. First, the studio is right on the street. We created a fish bowl effect, with glass on all four sides,” said Carl. “We are renting space to the folks who own Coffee Kiosk. They are also a local husband and wife team. They are going to put a small coffee shop attached to our studios, so customers can watch our broadcast while sipping their latte(s).”
KHTS will now have three studios, the main on-air studio, a production room, which will also serve as a separate on-air studio, and they are building a news studio.
“We will have video cameras set up in our studios to video our radio shows and we expect to have plenty of audience interaction as people walk by or have a cup of coffee,” said Carl Goldman.
One of the radio station’s long-term talk show hosts, Arif Halaby, who owns Total Financial Solutions, is moving his office next to KHTS. Arif and his wife, Pam, have gone into partnership with the Goldmans on the Newhall building.
“Our programming will basically stay the same, although we intend to add three or four new shows once we are settled in over the next few months,” said Carl. “We want to bring back ‘Coffee with the Mayor,’ since we really will have a coffee shop adjacent to our studio. We also want to add an acoustic local talent music show tied in with Coffee Kiosk. We have several other shows we are planning to launch in the fall.”
In one more stroke of irony, the Goldmans – longtime residents of the east side of the Santa Clarita Valley – are taking the business west, just as Canyon Country is beginning its largest commercial renaissance ever. Vista Canyon, which just broke ground, is a Sand Canyon area development that will include a hotel, movie theatre and train station, among many other changes.
“We are really excited about the Vista Canyon project,” said Carl. “Jim Backer (developer of the project) has an incredible vision for Vista Canyon and we know that will become an awesome addition to the east side of our valley, but our heart has been with Old Town Newhall and wanting to assist in turning that neighborhood into the vision the City is creating for it.”
The Goldmans, who first purchased the radio station – as KBET – in July, 1990, sold it to Clear Channel in 1998 and re-purchased it five years later.
“We have been interested in moving to Old Town Newhall since we first re-purchased KHTS radio in 2003,” said Carl. “We were close to purchasing a few properties over the years, but we are glad we waited, because the old Newhall Hardware building is exactly the location we were looking to land.”
When the couple purchased AM-1220, it was located on Sierra Hwy and Soledad Canyon Rd and the station had been on the air for a year. The transmitter site and property is on Sierra Highway, next to the Halfway House on the edge of Canyon Country and Agua Dulce. When they re-purchased the station from Clear Channel in 2003, they rented the offices on Soledad Canyon and Camp Plenty roads, where it has been located for the past 12 years.
While Canyon Country residents will sense the loss, not seeing the brick-and-mortar radio station in town, they can still be part of the listening audience, of course, not to mention the myriad ways KHTS has added to its social media repertoire. But, another thing that hasn’t changed is the Goldmans’ dedication to the business of radio, and the couple’s commitment to the Santa Clarita Valley.
“Jeri and I love this Valley and the ability to make a difference in our own community,” said Carl. “We love the challenges and excitement of all the new digital technology. We believe radio will always be an important component in the media mix. We’ve been able to use the strength of our station to create the most read website in our Valley with www.hometownstation.com and we continue to explore ways to deliver our message to our Valley and for our advertisers.”