Kent Hopper is a Broadcast Personality who has been serving the Central Valley for 48 years. A graduate of the Don Martin School of Radio and Television Arts and Science in Los Angeles, he began his career in 1970 at Hanford’s KNGS, AM 620. Although he started off as the late night show host, it didn’t take long for the powers that be to recognize that they had something special in Hopper, and in 1972 he made his debut as Hopper in the Morning on that same station.
Over the years, Hopper left his mark on various communities across the Central Valley and on fans everywhere. He spent several years in the Modesto/Turlock area as the morning show’s host on KMIX and worked for 11 years for KSEQ and KIOO in Visalia. Kevin Barrett, the station’s manager at the time, says “KSEQ barely had a pulse and [Hopper was] the spark that put the station on the map”. It was during this time that Hopper’s passion for his community really began to make a difference. For example, his fundraising efforts for Visalia Emergency Aid eventually led to the formation of the Turkey Transit Singers, a group that still raises money for the organization today. It was undoubtedly these efforts that led Mimi Stoneburner to tap Hopper to serve as the Morning Show Talk Host and Operations Manager at Porterville’s KTIP in 2000.
From 2000 to 2018, Hopper became the go-to source for Tulare County news, providing listeners with a venue to learn about their community’s happenings that was not available elsewhere. Hopper’s show, and the rest of the KTIP programming, reflected his most important values; helping the community and providing a source for fair and balanced reporting of Tulare County’s news. Hopper frequently invited the public to speak about causes important to them and highlight events that served the community. He also provided the opportunity for city and county leaders to share information with their constituents as well as for those constituents to ask questions of their leaders. When his time at KTIP abruptly came to an end due to the sale of the station, it was abundantly clear that the need for his services had not diminished, and with the overwhelming support of the community, Hopper in the Morning lives on in his podcast, The Pulse of the Valley! Hopper is excited to take this opportunity to continue to provide a venue for the community to get its news, a place for those who need it to seek help or to get a spotlight on their cause, and to continue to have fun with the folks of Tulare County!
Hopper is a man of many talents and passions. In addition to his on-air antics, he has shared his amazing singing voice with his followers as the front-man of The Kent Hopper Band, playing in clubs and even opening for acts such as Hank Williams, Jr. Some of the highlights of his career, he says, are the opportunities it has afforded him to interact with music greats. Hopper has been invited to MC several shows over the years, including Sammy Hagar, Iron Butterfly, and Merle Haggard, to name a few. Other highlights include interviewing dignitaries from state and local government, and being recognized for his service as the recipient of awards such as Visalia Emergency Aid’s Hometown Hero, Rotary International Foundation’s Paul Harris Fellow Award, and C-SET’s Excellence in Business Values award, among many others.
While music, broadcasting, and community service rank highly in his list of priorities, Hopper is most passionate about his family and is happiest when surrounded by his wife, Kathy, and his many children and grandchildren. His best days are spent in the back yard of Hopper Mansion, barbecuing by the pool with the music blasting and the kids laughing, or around the TV watching his Raiders play ball.
Regarding his new venture, Hopper will bring his many years of experience, his professionalism and community connections, and his wit and sense of humor so that listeners get the same great experience as always. With his son, Kyle, serving as the podcast’s engineer, listeners know to always expect a quality production. Hopper says, “I hope people will listen and support the podcast, and know that Hopper is back and is here for you, Tulare County!”