Bonneville International Corp.'s recent sale of KAAM-AM radio in Dallas is part of the company's continuing effort to make the best possible deployment of its resources, according to Bruce Reese, executive vice president.
Reese, who was recently given charge over Bonneville's major-market radio group, said Bonneville wasn't necessarily looking to sell the Dallas station but was given an offer it couldn't refuse. KAAM-FM is being sold to Cardinal Communications for an undisclosed amount. Cardinal plans to convert the station into Dallas' first all-sports radio station.Bonneville still owns KZPS-FM in Dallas and is now looking to buy another FM station in Dallas. Reese said Bonneville would like to have an FM station in Salt Lake City, too.
"We'd love to figure out how to do that," Reese said. "But we'd need to have a waiver."
Current FCC regulations relaxed previous ownership rules so that one company can own up to two FM and two AM radio stations in the same market. However, ownership rules for multiple-media companies have not changed. Bonneville also owns KSL-TV in Salt Lake City, and the LDS Church, its owner, has the Deseret News and two noncommercial broadcast properties in KBYU radio and TV.
Reese said Bonneville tried unsuccessfully to obtain an FCC waiver several years ago to purchase an FM station in Roy. He said today there are special multiple-ownership waivers that apply to the nation's top 25 radio markets, but Salt Lake City is ranked 38th in size.
Bonneville has also considered a local marketing agreement (LMA) in the Salt Lake area, so it could essentially lease an FM frequency, but Reese said the company hasn't found an agreement that makes sense yet.
Regarding Bonneville's recent purchase of two more radio stations in Kansas City, bordering Jackson County, Mo., Reese said there were no millennial ramifications to those purchases. Bonneville recently bought KCMO-AM and KCMO-FM in Kansas City, to add to its other properties in there, KMBZ-AM and KLTH-FM.
"This was a business decision," Reese said of the Kansas City purchases. "This is a tough radio market. "Our decision was to get in and do it big or get out," Reese said.
Reese said Bonneville has been very successful and ranks as one of the nation's top seven or eight companies in terms of radio ownership.
"We're not looking to acquire TV," Reese said. "Radio is a better business for us."
Bonneville owns two TV stations, KSL in Salt Lake City and KIRO in Seattle. It also owns 15 radio stations now (nine FM and six AM) and eight support companies.
The company also recently sold assets of Bonneville Broadcasting, a music and consulting service, to Broadcast Programming of Seattle. This service includes Bonneville's syndicated easy-listening programming that never did find a home in Salt Lake City, mainly because Bonneville sold KSL-FM in 1977 to gain FCC approval to buy KAFM-FM (now KZPS) in Dallas. That Salt Lake frequency became KSFI in 1978.