Pet project is the talk of Morro Bay

AnimalRadio.com bills itself as “America’s most-listened-to pet talk” interactive radio program. It is syndicated in 100 U.S. affiliate stations in 90 markets, on XM Satellite Radio and generates 100,000 podcast downloads internationally, according to its producers.

Locally, it airs from 2 to 4 p.m. each Sunday on KVEC-AM 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 “experts” such as Dr. Debbie from Las Vegas, Vladae, the “Russian dog wizard” from Newport Beach, groomer Joey Villani from New Jersey and animal communicator Joy Turner from Seattle.

Abrams has been in radio for decades, starting in Los Angeles playing music and creating high-visibility fundraising stunts such as spending a week in an Alaskan doghouse for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

He has worked in Denver and Montana, but prefers California, having worked in Fresno, San Francisco and Ventura.

Francis, his wife, says she was “lucky caller No. 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. Its first affiliate was KOST-FM 103.5 in Los Angeles.

It built its brand by traveling the United States in a recreational vehicle. Sponsored by Bissell and Petco, the show would interview guests live at the chain’s stores.

It was based for a year in Utah. Then, in 2004, the pair returned to Shandon but longed to be seaside.

“We love the Rock, the birds and passionate people. We plan to get involved,” Abrams said. “Business is good retail, restaurants and tourism are pet-friendly today.”

Meanwhile, Abrams intends to file with the Federal Communications Commission for a Morro Bay community FM radio station.

Its range would include Morro Bay, Cayucos and Los Osos, with 24-hour programming 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 that the community is willing and interested.

He needs community-based board members with diverse skills interested in radio programming and willing to give their time and talents to promote Central Coast people and events, news and information.

Abrams said the website, www.morrobaycommunityradio.org, should be operational in March, but he wants to meet with anyone interested sooner. He can be reached at 772-1314 or hal@animalradio.com.

Meanwhile, listen Sundays when Animal Radio will host guests such as comedian Elayne Boosler and Iron Chef Cat Cora, and Cambria elephant seals docent Charmaine Coimbra.

Reach Judy Salamacha at judysalamacha@gmail.com or 801-1422.