The deal will give Sovereign seventeen stations across five markets on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula including Iron Mountain, Marquette, Newberry, and Sault Saint Marie. KMB Broadcasting has owned the stations since 1978, with a failed $850,000 sale to Catholic operator Starboard Media Foundation in 2002.
Upper Peninsula based Sovereign Communications has reached an agreement with KMB Broadcasting to purchase their Escanaba Michigan radio stations, WYKX-FM and WDBC-AM. The two station acquisition will give Sovereign a total of seventeen stations in the Upper Peninsula region of Michigan, where the company already owns fifteen radio stations, including stations in Sault Sainte Marie, Newberry, Marquette and Iron Mountain.
Bill Curtis, President of Sovereign Communications, said: “We couldn’t be more excited about this purchase. We’ve wanted to own these heritage stations for a long time and I’m delighted Mr. Cooke decided to sell them to us. Having WYKX-FM and WDBC-AM in our company will allow us to serve the local communities as well as our advertisers and listeners in even greater ways. I look forward to a smooth transition as we bring the Escanaba staff and operations into the Sovereign family. We’re extremely fortunate to have some of the best people in the radio business on our team. They’re passionate radio professionals that are excited about our growth and are ready to take on additional responsibilities and play an even more important role in the larger company. Personally, as a kid that grew up in the U.P. and started in the radio business at 15 years old, seeing Sovereign Communications continue to grow is a real dream come true for me.”
James Cooke, President of KMB Broadcasting, commented: “It’s with mixed emotions that we decided to sell WDBC and WYKX. We have owned the stations since 1978 – longer than any other owners in their histories, dating all the way back to 1941 in the case of WDBC. Over the years, our dedicated and talented staffs have enabled both stations to provide the highest quality broadcast service to listeners and advertisers in Delta County and the surrounding counties. The quality of that service has been recognized by both the National Association of Broadcasters (WDBC won its prestigious Crystal Award) and the Michigan Association of Broadcasters (WYKX won its Station of the Year Award, two years in a row). We much appreciate the service of those employees over the many years. However, my wife Betsy and I have both reached retirement age and are pleased to have reached an agreement to sell the stations to Sovereign Communications, a respected U.P. broadcaster who we fully expect will continue the station’s award winning service to the Central U.P.”