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STEVE FLORES: Media Jam brings community together

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It may have been a sign of the apocalypse in the form of a musical evening.

A musical anomaly compared to cats sleeping with dogs, sheep guarding lions, the Oakland Raiders defeating the Denver Broncos to win next year's Super Bowl.

Good triumphing overall.

The Media Music Jam recently held at Buck Owens' Crystal Palace held a positive air of community, which has become synonymous with Kern County. And like our hot summer days or foggy winter mornings, many of us may mistakenly take our shared DNA of helping thy neighbor for granted.

Full disclosure: I was the coordinator for the Media Music Jam. Twenty two of my old and new media friends said "yes" when I asked if they wanted to help raise money for the Kern County Cancer Fund. The catch was that they would have to perform with Thee Majestics on the holy grail of musical stages on the West Coast -- Buck Owen's Crystal Palace.

And they still said yes. I know it's hard to believe but not a shy one amongst them.

All money raised for the Kern County Cancer Fund stays in Kern County to help families with the financial devastation cancer can bring.

Media performers included: Erin Briscoe, Mike Hart, Elaina Rusk, Lauren Titus and Larissa Wohl from KERO TV 23; Angela Barton, Kevin Charette, Maddie Janssen and Jim Scott from KGET TV 17; Aaron Perlman, Jose Gaspar, Joshua Helmuth and Tracy Peoples from KBAK TV 29; Wendy Armijo, A & L Marketing; Irma Cervantes, CSUB; Norma Gaspar, Telemundo 17.3; Tony Lee, Buckley Broadcasting; Jeff Lemucchi, KERN Radio; Kenn McCloud, 98.5 The Fox; Matt Munoz, The Bakersfield Californian; Robert Rodriguez, California Highway Patrol; and Danny Spanks, KRAB Radio.

And speaking of the media, competition among local media outlets can be fierce. Ask any local media account executive walking the streets competing for your advertising dollars. Or any news director who lives or dies by the next ratings book. Local competition for your viewing, readership and listening habits is at an all-time high here in Kern County. It can be very rewarding but it is a very difficult business to be in right now.

But for one wonderful night, all this competition was forgotten and the media celebrities drew their communal finger in the sand and stood shoulder to shoulder to help Kern County families fighting cancer. And you could feel something special happening at the Crystal Palace.

Unbeknownst to many of the media performers, many of them came to me privately and shared how they were nervous about performing. And they also shared how the event was personal for them. Someone in their circle of family or friends had been affected by cancer, as is in my family.

Our goal for the Media Music Jam was to raise $20,000. We raised $30,426, and I pray we raised hope among families whose limited resources are no match for the financial devastation caused by cancer.

As I looked around the Crystal Palace that night, all I could see were smiling faces, even among those who I knew had lost a family member or friend or were at that very moment battling that dreaded disease.

NBC was hugging CBS. ABC was hugging Telemundo. Radio was hugging newspaper. Pittsburg Steelers fans were hugging Oakland Raiders fans. It was a beautiful sight to behold.

A sign of the apocalypse? Good triumphing over all? I sure hope so.

As someone much smarter than I once said, "You can either hope or help."

Thanks to my family, friends and guests the Media Music Jam was our small way of helping.

But I do hope and pray cancer will one day be like polio to my 11-month-old grandson, Ariyon -- an unknown and foreign word. That one day in the not-so-distant future, he will have that quizzical look on his face and say, "Grandpa, what was cancer?"

The Media Music Jam was our way of joining hundreds of thousands of people around the world who pray to make this so.

Steve Flores is a contributing columnist for The Californian. These are his opinions, not necessarily those of The Californian. Email him at

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