Of the 30 or so radio stations in the Tucson market, most are owned by giant corporations, namely Citadel Broadcasting, Clear Channel Radio and Journal Broadcast Group.

Hudson Communications, on the other hand, owns just one station: KJLL (1330-AM), known as the Jolt.

"Local ownership of FCC-licensed radio is a dinosaur," said John C. Scott, KJLL's general manager.

The Jolt was on the brink of extinction not too long ago.

Scott hosted a show on the Jolt from 2005 to 2008, but left citing a schizophrenic management.

He returned in April 2009 after the station's owner, Aldona Sprei, asked him to manage the station.

Sprei died about three months later, Scott said.

"The station was her life, but she didn't have people in here that worked in her best interest," Scott said.

Her husband, Stanley Sprei, resuscitated the station by opening his checkbook and paying off debt accumulated since the couple bought the station in about 1996.

It had been dark four or five years before the Spreis purchased it, Scott said.

Stanley Sprei, a pathologist in Yuma who still owns a home in Tucson, wrote checks to the IRS and the FCC, Scott said.

"He made the commitment to keep the station and pay off its major debt," Scott said.

The Jolt pulled in as little as $7,500 a month when Scott arrived and is now doing about $30,000 worth of business each month, Scott said, through ad sales and fees charged to local hosts, who pay between $600 to $1,200 a month for airtime.

"Stabilizing is a good word for what we did," he said. "The future is one, we assume, that if we continue down this path will be profitable and the owner will want to keep it on the air."

Seven full-time employees and three part-time workers make things happen at the Jolt.

The station operates out of a second-story building at 4433 E. Broadway, near North Columbus Boulevard.

KJLL airs 14 local shows. Fifteen if you count Scott's talk show. The local lineup includes businessmen, former politicians, real estate experts, foodies - an eclectic mix of Tucsonans with something to say.

"We represent a microcosm of the community," said Chuck Aubrey, a host and producer. "One of the things I enjoy about KJLL is we're not wedded to a certain view. There's room for all viewpoints."

Then you have syndicated hosts.

Some of the top talkers in America are heard on the Jolt, including Stephanie Miller, Ed Schultz, Dr. Laura and Don Imus, whose brother, Fred, started out at the Jolt before his show was picked up by satellite radio.

But it's the local content that sets the Jolt apart from other talk radio stations in town.

"We really haven't changed the philosophy of the station because we want to be Tucson-oriented," Scott said. "We want to play a role in what Tucson says, does, is and will be."

Most of the Jolt's listeners are 35 and older, Scott says.

"Business people listen to us because we follow local politics," he said.

Scott would like the station to be more visible in the community and one of his goal's includes hiring a marketing director.

The station has never dominated the ratings like KNST (790-AM), which is a news-talk radio station owned by Clear Channel and features "The Rush Limbaugh Program" and "The Sean Hannity Show."

The Jolt's ratings stay steady at about 1 percent of the Tucson listening audience, Scott said.

Scott and the others don't mind just getting by as one of the last independently owned radio stations in Arizona.

"If you just keep your head above the water, you're successful," Scott said.

On the dial

Listen to the Jolt at AM 1330 or at the Jolt's website - www.tucsonsjolt.com - where shows stream live.

Some shows are rebroadcast on the weekends.

The Jolt's website also offers a complete radio schedule and links to some local shows.