Today’s Honoree is Gary Cocola

Gary Cocola is the owner of Cocola Broadcasting Companies, with headquarters in Fresno, California. He gained his first experience with the television business at the age of 17 while working for a local television station. From 1956 until 1958 he worked as a panelist on a local program at KFRE-TV, Channel 12, in Fresno called “Open House” with Al Radka. His job was to judge new records for a program called “Traffic Pops.” He then became a co-host of the television program “TV Record Hop,” a local dance party show.

This television experience was gained while he was attending San Joaquin Memorial High School in Fresno. While attending Fresno State College, he hosted his own programs on both radio and television in the Fresno, Bakersfield and Monterey California markets.

In 1964 he left the broadcasting industry to join his father in the family produce business. Although his own produce business was very successful, the work did not fulfill him. As a result, he decided to return to his original field of interest – broadcasting.

In 1985, after a seven-year effort to obtain a construction permit from the Federal Communications Commission, he built Channel 59, KMSG-TV in Fresno. He left the produce industry to own and operate the station. At that time, KMSG-TV was an affiliate of the Spanish language network Telemundo. He sold that station in 1991.

In 1992 he formed Cocola Broadcasting Companies with the launch of KGMC-TV Channel 43, currently the Fresno market’s only high-power independent television station. Channel 43 is also carried on the Comcast Cable system on Channel 10. During the next several years he continued to build and now operates a total of 28 television stations.

Mr. Cocola is married. He and Juliana now reside in Carmel, California with daughter Sara and their Yorkshire terriers, CoCo and Minnie.

More information on Gary Cocola and Cocola Broadcasting Companies

Gary M. Cocola Chairman and Chief Executive Officer garyc@cocolatv.com

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2 Responses to Today’s Honoree is Gary Cocola

  1. n. mathias says:

    I met Gary when I was a regular on Record Hop….. Mike Grant, Larry Burrows, Janice Engleman, Jimmy Rhodes….. we were there every week …. it was so much fun!! Gene Flowers was a friend of Gary’s too ….. My name is Nita, ….. they were my best friends !! Dick Clark died today, brought back so many memories….If only tapes or film of the early days of Record Hop existed…. how I wish….

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