Matt Wier / The Collegian
When students, faculty and staff tune in to talk radio or talk shows, the usual national options come to mind: Delilah Rene, The Howard Stern Show and The Savage Nation. However, politician Mike Briggs has given us another option.
Central Valley Talk is Fresno’s latest addition that adds something unique: local voices set on Fresno news and events.
Briggs, who runs Central Valley Talk from a small room behind his office, launched the site out of frustration.
“I like talk radio, but I couldn’t get a signal,” Briggs said speaking of the radio reception he was getting from his second story office. “I then wondered why we couldn’t get talk radio over the Internet.”
Briggs then proposed the idea of creating just that: an all Internet radio channel. The Central Valley Talk Web site officially launched in August 2008. Mike’s son, 14-year-old Clayton Briggs, designed the Web site that entire summer to prepare for the August launch.
The idea of becoming a streaming television show came when Briggs saw a camera sitting in the studio.
“We originally had a $200 camera that we bought on eBay,” Briggs said. “Since then, the father and son duo moved up to a $10,000 camera.”
Briggs is very pleased with the selection of hosts that he features on Central Valley Talk. “We don’t just want anyone. It has to be interesting,” said Briggs. The hosts tackle everything from selling cars, news, entertainment, and raising children.“We’ve kind of turned into the network of what’s going on in Fresno,” Briggs said. “We celebrate what’s going on.”
Central Valley Talk features shows such as “Mommy Talk With Athena,” hosted by former KVSR DJ Athena Matsikas, which deals with being a working mother. Viewers can also check out “Tower TV’s” colorful (and heavily tattooed) hosts Duane Hansen and Laura Splotch as they talk about all the latest events in the Tower District.
Briggs recently gave former KMPH news anchor John Malos his own show. Malos, who has 12 years of on-air experience, hosts “Straight Talk with John Malos” every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon.
Three months prior to broadcasting, Briggs received a call from Gary Cocola, owner of Cocola Broadcasting, who offered to put the stream on television for free. “He was very kind to help us out,” Briggs said.
Central Valley talk was then shown simultaneously on channel 33.1 to Central Valley residents who owned a digital box.
Chuck Leonard, host of “Central Valley Buzz with Chuck Leonard,” realizes the potential of digital television.
“There are 220,000 boxes in the Central Valley,” Leonard said. “I think we are doing something great.”
The viewership for each show has skyrocketed well beyond what Central Valley Talk expected. “We’re clipping 50,000 viewers a month,” Briggs said. “A year and a half ago, we had about 100 viewers a month.”
Local veteran “Brother Bruce,” who is a frequent guest on the “Central Valley Buzz,” said he appreciates the recognition they are giving to local artists.
“For a small town, there are some people that are extremely talented,” Bruce said. “You meet characters, you build character.”
As Central Valley Talk gains viewers, the cast and crew hope to inspire Fresnans to realize that they can have a voice in the community too.
“For so long, Fresno has been ran by certain people,” Leonard said. “We want to let people know that Fresno is a cool place to live.”
Central Valley Talk can be found online at www.centralvalleytalk.com.