ADDRESS: 1390 Waverly Drive SE, Albany, OR; PO Box 749, Albany, OR 97321; 36991 KGAL Drive, Lebanon, OR
PHONE NUMBER: 541-926-8683
WEBSITES: www.KGAL.com, www.KSHO.net, www.willamettevalleysports.com
OWNER: Charlie Eads
YEARS IN BUSINESS: 33 years
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 12-15
WHAT THEY SELL: Smart Talk, unforgettable music, sports — and the audiences for both broadcast and on-line (5 Stations: 2 broadcast & 3 Internet)
WHY YOU SHOULD LISTEN: For fun, information, Smart Talk, and music you won’t find anywhere else on the dial.
KGAL 1580 is a news/talk/sports station, and KSHO 920 has its own eclectic mix of unforgettable music. The focus is clearly local. As owner and general manager Charlie Eads says, “We don’t want to yell at people with talk shows. Instead, we offer the smartest of the syndicated talkers, plus local talk on a wide range of topics of interest to our local listeners. We also broadcast local high school sports, Seattle Seahawks, and the University of Oregon Ducks sports. All the employees live in the local area. Eads Broadcasting supports local charities and is a sponsor of local events. In recognition of his contributions to local broadcasting, Charlie was recognized as the Oregon Broadcaster of the Year for 2004 by the Oregon Association of Broadcasters.
When and why did you decide to start your business? In the mid-70’s, I got tired of commuting an hour each way in L.A. to my job for an elevator business. I took some classes in radio ads sales, then put together a resume and sent it around the west. Eventually this led to a job in Bend, Oregon, with a small broadcasting group. They sent me to Albany as sales manager 6and then general manager. The opportunity to buy KGAL came up in 1981, so with a little help from my parents, I bought the station. I’ve lived in Albany for 36 years.
Tell us more about your products and services. What are your specialties? We want to provide unique radio products for our listeners and our advertisers. KSHO presents music from the 50s to today, most of which you don’t hear anywhere else. KGAL was the first news/talk station in the area, and we stress local information and involvement. News director Weldon Greig has been on the air in the Corvallis area for over 30 years. Morning host Jeff McMahon is fun and personable and is also a long-time local broadcast veteran. The Action Stream is all sports on the Internet. We stream all the stations on the Internet.
What does being featured as the Local Business of the Week mean to you? It’s very flattering. It’s good to know that what we’re doing is being recognized. We love feedback from our audiences and advertisers. We are constantly tweaking and improving our products, including a big power increase this summer on KGAL.
Do you fill an unusual niche? We have unforgettable music on KSHO and the smartest syndicated and local talk shows.
What challenges have you faced as an independent local business owner, and how have you met those challenges? The biggest challenge is economies of scale, local vs. national stores or services. We need to provide services and products that the national businesses can’t. We concentrate on what we do best – local talk and information programing.
What do you feel is the impact of local independent businesses on Corvallis? We can provide quicker response to our listeners’ wants and needs than the national channels. So our customers get a better experience, and our advertisers get a better product.
What do you enjoy most about owning a local, independent business? I enjoy being my own boss, being responsible for the business’s success or failure.
What is your relationship to the community? What organizations do you support or participate in? The station supports local charities and is a sponsor of local events, like River Rhythms and the Mondays at Monteith Concerts. I’ve been on the boards of the Red Cross, United Way and the Rotary Club. And, of course, I’m a member of CIBA.
How important is sustainability to you? Have you taken steps to increase the sustainability of your business model? I’m a recycle nut. I stay on my staff all the time about recycling everything we can, from old electronic equipment to paper. We used to have huge bins where we would dump teletype paper by the ton. We encourage recycling at home and on the job as much as we can.
Please give us your one-sentence take-away message about your business. We are locally owned and operated and depend completely on our local listeners and advertisers for our success, and that’s the way we like it!
(Interview and article by Ron Garnett– July 15, 2014)
The Local Business of the Week program is designed to help the Corvallis community identify our locally-owned independent businesses by featuring one business each week. The program is part of the Buy Local First campaign co-sponsored by the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition and the Corvallis Independent Business Alliance.