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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
The announcement Thursday that Ralph Bailey was leaving his show at KNZR-AM turned out to be a harbinger of a much bigger shakeup in Bakersfield media, the scope of which became clearer Friday:
* Bailey has accepted a job at KERN Radio, replacing talk show host Scott Cox in that time slot.
* Cox, meanwhile, will helm a new three-hour news program, "First Look with Scott Cox." The venture represents a media partnership between American General Media, which owns KERN Radio, and The Californian.
The program will be simulcast on KERN-AM, 1180, and streamed live in high definition video on Bakersfield.com. In a statement, newspaper executives said they believe the venture to be one of the first of its kind in the nation.
"This is an exciting time for us," said publisher Ginger Moorhouse. "The world is changing and this is an excellent way to leverage the talents of the Californian newsroom on new platforms."
The show will take place in a studio constructed in The Californian's third-floor newsroom. The debut is scheduled for March, though a specific date has not been announced.
Cox said Friday he was "super-excited" about hosting the show, which will feature news, weather, entertainment, sports and interviews with newsmakers. The show also will feature the paper's editors and reporters.
"The more media platforms you're featured on, the better it is. I'm really proud to be a central part of it."
Cox is preparing for a series of run-throughs to prepare for the show and will continue with his current program, which airs from 3 to 6 p.m. weekdays, while Bailey transitions into his hosting duties.
The new morning show will replace syndicated talk show host Laura Ingraham's program, which currently airs from 6 to 9 a.m. on KERN, but AGM General Manager Toni Snyder said she is considering finding a new time slot -- possibly at a different AGM station -- for the conservative commentator.
No other shows air during the new program's time slot except for "Californian Radio," which will become a part of "First Look with Scott Cox."
Bailey, meanwhile, said that Friday -- the day he signed his contract with AGM -- was "the happiest day of my life."
"I've got security in a field that's not that secure. After working in print, television and radio, I'm making a little money. I'm happy about that."