KALL AM/FM radio is being sold to Apollo Radio, owner of KKAT-FM, pending Federal Communications Commission approval of new multiple-ownership regulations Aug. 1.
George C. Hatch, president of Salt Lake's Communications Investment Corp., the owner of KALL, said his company and Apollo are also negotiating a local marketing agreement (LMA) with the intention of actually transferring ownership to Apollo later this summer.Price Broadcasting, owner of KCPX AM/FM, and Citadel Communications, owner of KLZX/KCNR, entered into Salt Lake's first LMA agreement late last month. LMAs are similar to newspaper joint operating agreements (JOAs), where two radio companies share sales staffs and other operations to cut costs.
"Our intention is, after August, to sell the station," Hatch said.
Hatch stressed that neither the LMA or the sale agreement has been signed by either party as negotiations continue. The LMA could act as an interim transfer indefinitely or until the FCC relaxes ownership regulations for stations within the same market and approves the sale. The LMA would allow CIC to retain ownership, station licenses and control over operations, while Apollo would handle sales and programming.
"Basically, we're talking to them (Apollo) because they like our formats and community-service efforts," Hatch said of the negotiations. "They'll likely continue the stations (KALL AM/FM) as they are now."
Hatch said since Tom Barberi, popular KALL morning personality, has a long-term contract, it will simply be picked up if the station is sold to Apollo. CIC has been working to sell KALL for the past several years. Hatch estimates only a few of the more than three dozen Wasatch Front radio stations made a profit last year.
KALL AM is one of Utah's oldest radio stations, having been started by Hatch in 1945. It still has an adult, contemporary, full-service radio (news-sports) format, while the FM sister station airs "oldies" music.
KKAT is a modern country station and has been ranked by the Arbitron ratings service as the most-listened-to Utah radio station for almost two straight years.
Apollo is a young, New York-based company that started in 1989. It owns three other radio stations - one in Kansas City, another in Spokane, Wash., and a third in South Carolina. Only the South Carolina property is a country music station.