My Latest SLO Tribune By the Bay: Animal

   is “America’s most listened-to Pet Talk” interactive radio program. It is syndicated in 100 U.S. affiliate stations in 90 markets, XM Satellite Radio, and generates 100,000 podcast downloads internationally. So you already listen each Sunday from 2-4 p.m. on KVEC-Talk 920. But did you know Hal Abrams, the program’s “voice” and Judy Francis, the executive producer, “talk” with the world about our furry, leathered or feathered friends from their studio in Morro Bay?

They’ll call in their “experts” like Dr. Debbie from Las Vegas, Vladae, the Russian Dog Wizard from Newport, Groomer Joey Villani, from New Jersey and Animal Communicator Joy Turner from Seattle.

Abrams has been in radio forever starting in Los Angeles playing music and creating high visibility fundraising stunts like spending a week in an Alaskan doghouse for the SPCA. He’s worked in San Francisco, Denver, Fresno, Montana, Ventura, but prefers California.

Finch, his wife, says she was “lucky caller #5.” Her prize was a lifelong commitment to tour and develop their passion for animals and radio.

Animal Radio has developed and thrived since 2001. Their first affiliate was KOST.103.5 in Los Angeles. They built their brand by traveling the USA in their RV. Sponsored by Bissell and PetCo, they’d interview guests live at PetCo’s. They based a year in Utah hosted by Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. Then in 2004 they returned to Shandon, but longed to be seaside.

“We love the Rock, the birds and passionate people. We plan to get involved,” said Abrams. “Business is good. The pet marketplace is worth $50B expected to grow to $90B by 2017. Retail, restaurants, and tourism are pet-friendly today.”

Meanwhile Abrams intends to file with the FCC for a Morro Bay non-commercial, non-political community FM radio station. Its range would include Morro Bay, Cayucos and Los Osos with programming 24/7 taped and delivered by people in the community. What does he need to make it happen? No, not your money! Remember, he has the studio already. He needs to prove to the FCC the community is willing and interested. He needs potential community-based board members with diverse skills interested in radio programming and willing to give of their time and talents to promote Central Coast people and events, news and information.

“The new website should be operational in March,”he said. “but I want to meet with interested folks sooner. Call him at 805.772-1314 or email

Meanwhile, listen Sundays when will host guests like Elayne Boosler and Iron Chef Cat Cora, and Cambria’s Elephant Seals docent, Charmaine Coimbra. And watch when their Morro Bay studio premiers on TLC Cable Network. Yes, they just finished filming!

And there will be Stories from the Central Coast….

February 29, 2012:

Welcome to my world of stories about people, places, events and even a furry friend or two from my viewpoint on the Central Coast of California. I’m expecting your visit often – virtually or someday in person.

As I look out my window at the towering Morro Bay “stacks” that overlook the beautiful, pristine and massive Morro Rock, I wonder why I doubted a move to the Central Coast from the Central Valley was for my health and happiness. It took me all of two minutes checking out my morning view on the first day of residency to realize I’d relocated to paradise. It just keeps getting better.

Since the 4th grade I’ve wanted to write…and I have…in school at our high school newspaper, in college in my creative writing classes, and teaching elementary, high school, and college level English. I wrote promos, reports, ad copy, press releases, brochures, and speeches during my career in marketing and public relations for media, nonprofits, and corporations. I even wrote the souvenir programs and weekly race reports during my NASCAR Short-Track days with Mesa Marin Raceway. My public relations firm was about teaching, learning, and writing for and about others.

And my writing life still is – but now I tell the stories about people making a difference – mostly living on the Central Coast in Morro Bay, Cayucos, Los Osos, and Baywood as I’ve done for years in my column, Judy Salamacha’s By the Bay,  published Mondays in the SLO Tribune ( and reported Mondays with King Harris on KVEC-Talk Radio 920.

However, my blog will allow me to branch out and tell more stories about the generous authors, agents, editors, and publishers who share their insights at the annual Central Coast Writers’ Conference hosted by Cuesta College Community Programs ( in San Luis Obispo, CA. This year’s conference is scheduled for September 21-22 and I have the pleasure and task of being its director for the third year. I also hope to feature my network of writers at and Kristen Lamb’s Facebook/Twitter writing group @#Wana112.

My blog will allow me to reach back to Bakersfield. There are so many stories in the Central Valley. My good friend and writing partner, Sandra Mittelsteadt and I have started when Bakersfield became Bakersfield, writing fictionalize stories about its early pioneers. Our first book, due out Spring, 2012, will interpret the life and times of Bakersfield’s founder, Colonel Thomas Baker and his constant preservationist and great, great grandson, Chris Brewer. We have been blessed with the guidance, historical research and the amazing photography collection owned by Brewer and his wife, Sally. We have also enlisted the graphic artistry and photography talents of Jody Salamacha Hollier.

It’s all been a wondrous journey with each new phase of my life guiding me to focus on what I love to do best…write the story.