A masked Austin Reed runs the On Air program that features a radio and television broadcast of Classic Rock and pop music and videos. Photo by Donald A. Promnitz
Written by Donald A. Promnitz
KKDJ host Austin Reed has never been one to let life get in the way of doing what he loves.
He started his 23-year-long career in broadcasting at age 9, when he set up a fake news station in his parents’ basement in Portland, Oregon. When the local ABC News station found out what he was doing — and that he was living with cystic fibrosis — they ran a story on him and then hired him on as a junior reporter.
Reed’s work would take him across the country from New Mexico to New York, and would eventually bring him to Fresno where he held a job at KAIL. A layoff saw Reed return to Oregon, and the pandemic saw him looking for a job once again — and packing his bags for Fresno once more.
The prompting came from Chris White, CEO of KKDJ FM 102.3, who saw a Facebook post from Reed offering his services to any takers. As luck would have it, White needed someone with experience in television and radio for a new program he was running — and Reed fit the bill.
Running since the start of August, On Air with Austin Reed is reportedly the only show of its kind in the country by combining TV and radio with live news and interviews.
“There’s nothing like it,” Reed said. “So basically on the TV side, we run an MTV format — what MTV used to be: music videos. And then on the radio side, we play the music, and while the music is playing on TV, we play the videos.”
White, who operates KKDJ out of Cocola Broadcasting Co. in North Fresno, purchased the rights to play these videos, which consist mostly of classic rock and pop hits from the 1980s.
On Air with Austin Reed airs Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. on over-the-air station 27.1. While Reed is running the only show of its kind, White says his host won’t be alone for too long. Currently, he’s working on setting up other shows just like Reed’s in other parts of the state along the coast.
“This is really the future,” White said.