It may be the most unorthodox radio sale in Utah history, rippling through three different companies.
Clear Channel Broadcasting is buying KALL's name, call letters and programming, while ABC/Radio Disney is purchasing the actual KALL frequency, AM-910.
Mercury Broadcasting of Salt Lake is selling KALL and its frequency in two separate business transactions, according to Mercury general manager Keith Abrams. The Disney sale is still subject to FCC approval, but the Clear Channel transaction isn't.
In essence, Abrams said, Clear Channel is purchasing the "intellectual properties" of the station including long-time morning host Tom Barberi for an undisclosed amount of money. ABC is buying just the frequency, and Abrams said the rumored $3.7 million purchase price is accurate.
"Disney has already made it clear they'll put that format on AM-910," Abrams said.
The ripple effect means that Radio Disney's current AM-860 dial location in Salt Lake City will be open, once the format moves to AM-910.
Eric Hauenstein, general manager for Citadel Broadcasting, confirmed that Radio Disney is likely moving.
"I have received written notice that ABC/Disney is electing to take the termination option in our contract that allows them to cancel if ABC buys a radio station in Salt Lake City, effective May 15," Hauenstein said. "Our contract would have expired this summer. Citadel had not decided whether to negotiate a renewal of the agreement."
Radio Disney has been losing money for Citadel the past several years because it has been difficult to get advertisers to buy it.
"We will be deciding on a new format for (AM) 860 shortly," he said.
ABC/Radio Disney's corporate office could not be reached for comment on the purchase.
Stuart Stanek, general manager for Clear Channel of Salt Lake, said KALL programming will move in its entirety to (KWLW) AM-700, possibly as early as June 1. AM-700 currently is home to a classic country music format, but that will vanish.
"We're pretty excited about it," Stanek said, explaining AM-700 has a 50,000-watt daytime signal strength compared to 5,000 watts for AM-910.
The rumored purchase price of KALL is $2 million, but Stanek said he could not confirm that, since such deals are handled on the Clear Channel corporate level.
Abrams said these kinds of deals, where the programming is separate from the actual frequency, happen occasionally nationwide, though this is likely the first time such a two-level sale has happened in Utah. He said Mercury will continue to own KCPX, KOSY and KRAR and has no plans to change those stations.
"I've never been so excited," Tom Barberi, a KALL personality since 1971, said about the prospects of being on a much stronger frequency.
KALL is Utah's 10th-oldest radio station, started in 1945. It was owned by the Intermountain Radio Network until the early 1990s. It was then owned by Apollo Radio, Jacor and eventually Clear Channel, until it had to be sold to Mercury when Clear Channel purchased KTVX, Ch. 4, in late 2001 to comply with FCC ownership regulations.
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