June 07, 2005

Pigs To Fly Over San Francisco

KPIG LogoFor a small AM station with a signal that almost microcasts to Marin County and San Francisco, KMZT (1510 AM) -- licensed to Piedmont, transmitting from the roof of an industrial building in Emeryville, and the direct descendant of San Rafael's KTIM -- has gotten itself a ton of press lately, including a large front-page article in Sunday's edition of the San Francisco Chronicle.

The reason: the station will soon become the local relay for cult-favorite KPIG (107.5 FM), broadcasting its porcine blend of roots music, hillbilly country and other musical miscellanea. KPIG, owned by Texas-based Mapleton Communications, operates out of the small town of Freedom (Santa Cruz County), population 6,000 and a mere stone's throw from Watsonville.

KMZT -- which will most likely have its call letters changed when it becomes KPIG's city cousin some time in July -- broadcasts with 8,000 watts of power during daytime hours with a tight directional pattern that shoots its signal from West Oakland toward the Golden Gate, with most of its signal wasted out in the Pacific Ocean. As a result, the station cannot be heard clearly in many parts of the Bay Area. (KMZT uses only 230 watts of power at night, rendering its signal even less viable outside of its San Francisco/Southern Marin target.)

Mapleton Communications, which owns 28 stations across the country, paid $5.1-million for KMZT, which had been owned by Saul Levine's Mt. Wilson FM Broadcasters. Levine had programmed classical music on the station via simulcast from co-owned K-Mozart (KMZT-FM/Los Angeles) until recently switching over to a jockless oldies format.

More articles about KMZT and KPIG:

East Bay Express
Good Times Weekly
San Jose Mercury
Billboard Radio Monitor