Local TV station coming

Linda Saholt

News Review Correspondent

Starting in June Ridgecrest may have its own live, local TV station. Local businessowner Tom Wiknich is branching out to set up a privately owned TV broadcasting studio on the second floor of his existing business, GUNS4US.

“We just got our final FCC approval,” said Wiknich. “That involves three separate applications they had to approve, and we just got the final. I’m really excited about this.”

The station, KZGN TV, will be on Channels 21, 21.1 and 21.2. Programming will include local news, weather and sports, to be broadcast over the air, on Mediacom Cable and via Internet streaming. A station manager has already been hired, and other part-time positions are being negotiated.

“Right now the goal is to get on the air sometime in June,” said Wiknich. Soon he hopes to include a Monday-through-Friday half-hour live interview show with a guest, where people can e-mail in questions while the guest is in the studio. “It takes almost 20 hours of labor to put on a one-hour program. That takes a lot of people,” said Wiknich.

“I want this to look professional. Eventually, I want to have a live camera crew and reporters to cover local news. It’s labor-intensive.”

Right now, the schedule looks like this: from 5 to 5:30 p.m., local news, then from 5:30 to 6 p.m., the interview program. “We’ll record it and replay it between 7 and 8 p.m. and again in the morning sometime, then start over. That way people will have the opportunity to see it. What makes this different from other stations is this will be the only live TV station in Ridgecrest.”

He is also talking about offering free airtime to local nonprofit groups to do either half-hour programs or spot announcements about their upcoming events.

“I also want this to be a commercial station, to make it available to businesses in town to run infomercials. We need the advertising to come through so we can pay for all this.”

Negotiations are in process for programming options and personnel, as well as broadcast areas. “We’ve got to fill up three channels, one High Definition digital channel and two standard digital channels. We’re considering filling one channel with country-western music,” he said.

“We’ve had a lot of input from the community. So far, everyone is very enthusiastic,” said Wiknich. “Everyone thinks it’s a great idea—for someone else to do.”

A Web site is in the works. Until it is operational, for more information, contact Wiknich at Thomas@KZGN.net.

Story First Published: 2014-05-07