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AM station planning to shut down

This isn’t exactly a Bay Area story, but it shows how difficult times are in AM radio in many places. David Jackson of the Bay Area Radio Museum (see item below for the museum’s Hall of Fame) informs us that KMPH-AM 840 in Modesto will shut down on Tuesday, Aug. 31 at 9 a.m.

It’s the sister station of San Francisco’s KTRB-AM 860. Both are owned by the Pappas family, whose television stations were sold off in bankruptcy proceedings.

“As part of a broadcast tradition dating back to 1953 in Modesto, California, our company has always viewed its stewardship of the airwaves as a sacred trust to serve the public in our communities, while also recognizing that, as with any private business, we must generate enough revenue to pay for this service,” Vice President and General Manager Jim Pappas said in an open letter to listeners, employees, advertisers and vendors. “With this in mind, taking our radio station off the air is a decision we were compelled to make only after investigating every possible alternative until, in the face of difficult economic circumstances, no other decision was possible. …

“When future circumstances permit, KMPH-AM will return to the airwaves,” Pappas concluded.

The AM station had played music (“modern standards”) until 2008 when it switched to a conservative talk format called The Patriot, centered around Michael Savage.

Jackson notes that KMPH was Pappas’ “replacement station” when it moved KTRB to San Francisco a few years back. In an e-mail Jackson says:

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