Yuma's Best 2012: KTTI 95.1 FM
Best Radio Station
Dave Sturgeon describes country music as “America's music.”
“Country music is the one format that is from here,” said Sturgeon, the general manager KTTI 95.1 FM. “It originated here.”
And its themes of love of country and love of family have won a wide following in Yuma County, where agriculture and military have long represented major pillars of the economy and where traditions of the American West remain strong.
But it's not just the songs of Dwight Yoakum, Faith Hill, Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood that resonate with listeners; it's how the station fills the time between tracks, Sturgeon says.
He's referring to the all-local on-air personalities who connect with listeners, among them Jeff Edwards and Misty Smith, who can be heard on the “Jeff & Misty in the Morning” program, plus Allen Davis and Kelley Ray.
Between them, they bring to the airwaves local commentary that is at once entertaining and relevant in the lives of listeners around the county, Sturgeon said.
“The music is the backbone. But KTTI is the 24/7 soundtrack of their lives. It's what we say between the songs that ties us to the community.”
The station, he added, is “connecting with listeners in a way that is very Yuman.”
Sturgeon attributes that formula to the station's having captured first-place honors in the category of Best Local Radio Station in successive years of Yuma's Best, the Yuma Sun's annual poll of reader's favorite area businesses, services, attractions and entertainment venues
For “Jeff & Misty in the Morning,” which airs 6 to 10 a.m. weekdays, Smith and Edwards tell anecdotes they believe will engage listeners, Smith said, or they may weigh in on current topics of interest locally as well as nationally.
In one recent program, for example, they offered their take on cyclist Lance Armstrong's televised admission to Oprah Winfrey of doping. On others, they talked about fluctuating gasoline prices.
“It kind of varies,” Smith said. “I think the topic that really lit up the lines recently was about Blake Shelton makings comparisons about the old country versus the new country, We've also had the lines light up about parenting issues.”
Smith, who also serves as KTTI's program director, was born and raised in Salmon, Idaho, and became acquainted with Yuma while traveling with her husband in his career as an industrial construction superintendent.
Edwards, the station's operations manager, came to KTTI from the Nashville area with more than three decades in the broadcast industry.
For listeners, said Sturgeon, “Jeff & Misty in the Morning” is “icing on the cake. They get the music, but they get to hear their stories.”
He added, “‘Jeff & Misty in the Morning' becomes as important as your morning cup of coffee.”
Ray, the newest addition to KTTI, can be heard from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays, while Allen Davis can be heard 3 to 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.
Ray comes to Yuma from Hope, Ark., with his wife, Jade, their three cats and a dog, bringing what Smith calls a “southern flair” to KTTI.
Davis juggles a fulltime job while being the afternoon host for the station, and has what Smith says is a personality and wit that makes for “a perfect end to the work day” for listeners driving home.
KTTI 95.1 FM has 22 full- and part-time employees. It is part of El Dorado Broadcasters, which owns and operates 15 radio stations in the western United States.
The station's website is www.kttifm.com, and its phone number is 344-4980. Its request line is 344-KITTI (-5884).