Driving out of Modesto the first city of significance you hit is Turlock. Some might say Ceres is the first, but like Salida to the north, it has no media outlets of it's own and thus blends seamlessly into Modesto proper. Ceres does have 920 KVIN-AM "Vintage AM" a nostalgia station with a great brand, that only mentions Modesto in their ID... But Turlock, they have their own radio stations.
So I got another burrito from Jessica #4 and headed off South on Route 99. The first notable station is 91.9 KCSS comes out of out of California State U./Stanislaus. It runs 4oo watts on a 32 meter stick. They cover Turlock handily but no further north than Ceres, and peters out to the South long before Merced. I caught the Modern Rock Lunch box, a weekday 2 hour program of Franz Ferdinand, Kings of Leon etc. Ho-hum. The rest of their schedule is far better. they even run radio dramas at night. On 90.9 KBDG runs Assyrian news much like KBES. 100.5 KEFC-LP is also out of Turlock but runs more christian satcast programming...
In Merced is another LP station, KGDM-LP on 105.5 also satcasting Jesus. Loud and clear in Merced (even louder and clearer than even it's city of license) is 88.7 KMPO the Radio Bilingue station here. They were rocking some Mango Santamaria this evening proving their worth as public radio en espanol. I tried to stop at a truck stop, but they were closed at 6pm. On one side of the road was grapes, on the other side dates.
I stopped in Madera for a bite at Farnesi's. KVPR was playing no music at all but instead broadcasting a reading of Winnie the Poo. It was unexpected and amusing. The AM dial is overwhelmingly Spanish, but on 620 it switches over to Portuguese for 620 KIGS-AM and 900 KBIF-AM which seems to be all Asian. It's a shame that 90.7 KFSR only has a 20 meter antenna. Even in Merced, they're inaudible. Now at 10:20pm PST they're rocking some fine indie rock: Antlers, Cursive, and Racelegs... etc.
Fresno is also the home town of one of my favorite authors, William Saroyan. It's also home to Spinners records, and despite all my best efforts... I don't have time to stop there.