Media, Printing & Graphics  December 9, 2014

Longmont-based radio station to change hands

LONGMONT – A radio station that has been broadcasting for 50 years from a 144-foot tower near 17th Avenue and Hover Street in Longmont is involved in a major radio-industry acquisition.

KKFN-FM 104.3, a 96,000-watt sports-talk station that serves Denver and the Front Range but is licensed to Longmont, is owned by Lincoln Financial Media.

On Monday, Bala Cynwyd, Pa.-based Entercom Communications Corp. (NYSE: ETM) announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Lincoln Financial Media from Radnor, Pa.-based Lincoln National Corp. (NYSE: LNC) for $105 million plus working capital.

The Longmont station made its debut in 1964 as KLMO-FM, sister station to KLMO-AM 1060, now business-talk KRCN. The late Bill Stewart and his wife, Lila Jean Stewart – 2014 inductees into the Boulder County Business Hall of Fame – ran KLMO from 1959 to 1998, and KLMO-FM was sold to Lincoln for $5.5 million in 1986.

The philanthropy-minded Stewarts have been major donors to local nonprofits such as the Tiny Tim Center. Earlier this year, Lila Stewart oversaw groundbreaking for the 250-seat Stewart Auditorium at the Longmont Museum and Cultural Center, for which the Stewart Family Foundation donated most of the $4 million cost. The foundation also donated millions of dollars to the Sustainable Excellence Initiative at the University of Colorado Boulder, a major upgrade of the athletic facilities to Pacific-12 Conference standards.

Besides KKFN in the metropolitan Denver-Boulder market, Lincoln owns country KYGO-FM 98.1, sports-talk KEPN-AM 1600, oldies music KRWZ-AM 950 and urban-oriented contemporary hits KQKS-FM 107.5, as well as KYGO’s low-power “HD-2” translator K276FK, which broadcasts on 103.1 FM and carries nonstop stand-up comedy routines.

Entercom already owned four Denver-area stations: adult contemporary KALC-FM 105.9, classic rock KQMT-FM 99.5, adult standards KOSI-AM 1430 and soft-rock KOSI-FM 101.1, which shifts to an all-Christmas music format during the holiday season. KYGO, the longtime country-music ratings leader in the Denver area, can be heard more clearly in Longmont on a local 250-watt translator, K251AB at 98.1 on the FM dial.

Because of FCC rules that went into effect with the Telecommunications Act of 1996, a single company can only own a total of eight full-power signals in a market, so Entercom will have to sell or shut down one in the Denver area.

The transaction is subject to Federal Communications Commission and other regulatory approvals and closing conditions, and Entercom expects to close on it in the second quarter of 2015.

Lincoln also owns stations in the Atlanta, Miami and San Diego markets. The transaction will expand Entercom’s station portfolio to more than 130 stations in 26 markets, including historic 50,000-watt WWL-AM 870 in New Orleans.

Lincoln National, an insurance company, entered the broadcasting business when it bought the holdings of another insurer, North Carolina-based Jefferson-Pilot, in 2006. Lincoln National also once owned three television stations and a sports production division, but sold them to Raycom Media.

LONGMONT – A radio station that has been broadcasting for 50 years from a 144-foot tower near 17th Avenue and Hover Street in Longmont is involved in a major radio-industry acquisition.

KKFN-FM 104.3, a 96,000-watt sports-talk station that serves Denver and the Front Range but is licensed to Longmont, is owned by Lincoln Financial Media.

On Monday, Bala Cynwyd, Pa.-based Entercom Communications Corp. (NYSE: ETM) announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Lincoln Financial Media from Radnor, Pa.-based Lincoln National Corp. (NYSE: LNC) for $105 million plus working capital.

The Longmont station made its debut in 1964 as KLMO-FM, sister…

Dallas Heltzell
With BizWest since 2012 and in Colorado since 1979, Dallas worked at the Longmont Times-Call, Colorado Springs Gazette, Denver Post and Public News Service. A Missouri native and Mizzou School of Journalism grad, Dallas started as a sports writer and outdoor columnist at the St. Charles (Mo.) Banner-News, then went to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch before fleeing the heat and humidity for the Rockies. He especially loves covering our mountain communities.
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