Because at long last Wilks Broadcasting has reportedly struck a deal to sell its cluster of local radio stations and exit the Kansas City market. The stations include, Mix 93.3 FM, KFKF FM, KBEQ FM and KCKC FM.
The pending sale to Steel City Media in Pittsburgh couldn’t have come soon enough for many current and former staffers at Wilks’ Kansas City stations.
That’s because Wilks – which bought the stations in January 2007 - is known to purchase groups of underperforming stations, slash expenses, boost revenues and then “flip” or sell the stations for a profit.
Unlike Entercom which is known for buying and operating the stations long term.
As might be imagined, it’s the slashing of expenses part that takes the biggest toll on radio station staffers and there was no shortage of frowning faces after Wilks took over here in 2007.
“It was a big surprise,” says one local radio executive. “I mean, Jeff Wilks doesn’t sell stuff unless he makes money and he paid a pretty price for those stations back in 2006 – somewhere around $90 to $100 million as I recall. It was right before the bottom fell out on the economy.”
As a result, Wilks was forced to operate the stations longer than many in the radio industry expected him to, before finding suitable market conditions to allow a sale.
And talk about strange bedfellows…
The buyer of Wilks KC stations, Steel City Media, ss a family-owned Pittsburgh biz, that owns publishing, broadcasting and internet services, Q 92.9, Bob FM 96.9, Pittsburgh City Paper, and “several internet portals.”
Hey, maybe they’ll wanna pick up The Pitch to compliment their Kansas City holdings.