Three incumbents on the Rancho Mirage City Council – G. Dana Hobart, Iris Smotrich and Charles Townsend Vinci — have declined an invitation to participate in a candidate forum to air live on KNWZ-AM/FM. 

Incumbents Reject KNWZ's Forum InviteAll three challengers – Michael Harrington, Robert “Bob” Mueller and Katherine “Kate” Spates — have agreed to participate in the “Rancho Mirage Candidate Forum,” which will be held at 4 p.m. on Thursday March 22.

Joni Almy, executive coordinator for the city of Rancho Mirage, on Thursday told David Nola, general sales manager/national sales manager, that due to calendar conflicts none of the three incumbents will be attending the forum.

Incumbents Reject KNWZ's Forum Invite

Hosts of Hot Talk, Rich Gilgallon and Paul Cashin

This program is designed to give all candidates who choose to participate a five-minute or so “live” on-air interview with the afternoon hosts of Hot Talk, Rich Gilgallon and Paul Cashin, said David Nola, general sales manager/national sales manager.

Nola said questions will be focused on three areas:

  • Why they want their constituents vote
  • What sets them apart from the other candidates
  • Why they are good for Rancho Mirage

This will be broadcast live on-air and streamed on the station’s website as well as live on YouTube

KNWZ frequency is 94.3 FM and 970 and 1140 AM. It is the Heritage News/Talk radio station in the desert.

“I believe it is important to hold this forum for several reasons,” Nola told Uken Report.

  • “First, this election, while only for a small city Rancho Mirage, has valley wide implications.
  • Secondly, there has been a lot of false or misleading information out there and we believe as a news/talk station we can help clear that up by offering the candidates a forum where they can express their positions to the audience.
  • Third, I believe it is our responsibility as a “Local” News/Talk station to keep our listeners informed of the issues and concerns that affect their daily lives.”

“I have personally been in both radio and television for the past 25 years,” Nola said. “Holding a forum like this will be central to what we do as a Local News/Talk station. We will be covering the other local elections this year as well.”

Order of appearance on the radio will be selected at random. After each candidate is interviewed there will be an approximate 3-minute break until the next candidate is seated.

The only other candidate forum during this election cycle was hosted by the Rancho Mirage Chamber of Commerce.

Ballots started arriving in registered Rancho Mirage voters’ mailboxes this week.