One of the largest sales of radio stations in recent times, at least in terms of numbers of stations being dealt, was announced this week in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Sault Ste. Marie based Sovereign Communications has reached an agreement with Northern Star Broadcasting to purchase all but one of their Upper Peninsula radio stations for $3.5 million dollars.
The eleven station, multi-million dollar acquisition will give Sovereign a total of seven radio stations in the Sault Ste. Marie and Newberry area with the addition of WYSS-FM, WMKD-FM and WKNW AM where the company already owns WSOO AM, WSUE-FM, WNBY AM and WNBY-FM. Northern Star will maintain its ownership of WIHC-FM Newberry as the acquisition of that station by Sovereign would have pushed it over FCC ownership limit caps.
The cash deal also includes WJPD-FM, WUPK-FM, WNGE-FM, WDMJ AM, and WIAN AM in Marquette as well as WIMK-FM, WZNL-FM and WMIQ AM in Iron Mountain.
Bill Gleich, President of Sovereign Communications, said, "We couldn't be more excited about this purchase. Having these additional stations will allow us to serve the community as well as our advertisers and listeners in even greater ways. I believe we have the best people in the radio business; they're all very excited about our growth and ready to take on new challenges. I look forward to a smooth transition as we bring the Northern Star stations into the Sovereign Communications family. Personally, as a local kid that grew up in Sault Sainte Marie and started in the radio business at WSOO at 15 years old, this is a real dream come true for me."
David Simmons, President of Traverse City/Cheboygan based Northern Star Broadcasting, commented, "While we will miss the many warm relationships that have developed during our involvement in the Upper Peninsula markets, the transaction with Sovereign Communications provides Northern Star Broadcasting with the opportunity for a renewed sense of focus and commitment to the remaining radio stations in the Northern Star Broadcasting group. We look forward to our continued community involvement, presentation of entertaining and quality programming for our listeners while providing outstanding customer service to our advertisers and promotional partners."
Northern Star Broadcasting has owned and operated its eight Northern Lower Peninsula radio stations since the company's formation in 1998. All of the Lower Peninsula Radio Stations will stay intact as a Radio Station Broadcast Group and will continue to be owned and operated by Northern Star Broadcasting, LLC. The current management team, Del Reynolds, Vice President of Programming and Operations and Chief Engineer, and Mary Reynolds, Vice President of Marketing and Promotions and General Manager, will continue to lead the Northern Star Broadcasting team of dedicated broadcast professionals.
Del Reynolds tells Michiguide.com, "I think this group of UP stations will be taken to the next level under the direction of Bill "Curtis" Gleich. He is truly a radio guy through and through from programming to sales. His attention to detail with regard to programming is the best I've seen. He gets up early and stays up late to make his stations sound great and they do! Bill has a thorough understanding of how to market, promote and program radio stations no matter what the format. Since Yes FM in the Sault was the first radio station that I owned and named, it has a special place in my heart. Having a guy like Bill Curtis own Yes FM 25 years later makes me feel better about ever selling it. In retrospect, that's one of the 10 stations that I've owned that I should have kept. From the time it went # 1 back in 1985 to now it's continued to do well over all these years. Yes FM is in good hands!"
The deal still must go through the FCC approval process and closing.