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Butte/Great Falls/Helena Swap Completed With Multiple Format Changes

Montana Radio Company Cherry Creek Media Helena Great Falls

Cherry Creek Radio and The Montana Radio Company have completed their multi-market swap and divestitures in Butte, Great Falls, and Helena MT leading to multiple format changes in those markets.

In Butte, Cherry Creek has added previously Silent 107.7 KMTZ Walkerville to their cluster there and has launched the station as Variety Hits “107.7 Dave-FM“.

Great Falls had previously seen two format changes as Cherry Creek flipped their Classic Rock “Rock 92.9” KLFM Great Falls to Classic Hits “Kool 92.9” in April and newly acquired 107.5 K298BL from a simulcast of Country “107.3 The Mighty Mo” KIMO Townsend/Helena to Alternative “107.5 The Peak” in May.

Also in Great Falls, Classic Country “96.3 Mo Legends” KVMO Fort Benton has completed its move to 96.1 and downgrade to no longer serve the market. It along with 106.5 KKRK Helena Valley SE were donated to Yellowstone Public Radio and are now airing its Public News/Talk programming.

The biggest amount of changes took place in Helena:

  • Variety Hits “98.5 Dave-FM” KHGC Montana City and Hot AC “B104.1” East Helena-Helena were both donated to Hi-Line Radio Fellowship and now carry its Christian “Your Network of Praise” programming.
  • As mentioned above, “Rock 106.5” KKRK Helena Valley SE is now part of Yellowstone Public Radio’s network under new KYPX call letters. Its former format lives on at 96.3 K242CX Helena/KIMO-HD2 as “Rock 96.3“.
  • Classic Country “Mo Legends 104.5″ K283BP Helena/KIMO-HD3 drops that format and assumes the Variety Hits “Dave-FM” brand dropped by 98.5 KHGC.
  • Part of the Classic Country music library was moved to Country “99.5 The Bull” KBLL-FM Helena, which broadened its library to differentiate it from new sister “Mighty Mo” 107.3 KIMO.

Update 4/10: All of the FCC filings (and a few domain registrations) for this multi-faceted deal have been filed giving a fuller look at what goes where:

Cherry Creek will pay $150,000 for Silent 107.7 KMTZ Walkerville/Butte. The domain registration of 1077DaveFM.com points to the Variety Hits brand currently heard in Helena and St. George UT coming to Butte.

Montana Radio Company’s Rock “Rock 106.5” KKRK Helena Valley SE and Classic Country “Mo Legends 96.3” KVMO Fort Benton/Great Falls will be donated to Montana State University-Billings’ “Yellowstone Public Radio” as part of this deal and will become rebroadcasters of 91.7 KEMC Billings. The KKRK intellectual property will head to 96.7 K244EH Helena, which holds a CP to move to 96.3 as Rock963Helena.com has been registered.

Hi-Line Radio Fellowship’s Your Network of Praise, which operates a Christian network across Montana and parts of Idaho, North Dakota, and Wyoming will receive 98.5 KHGC and 104.1 KBMI-FM via donation from Cherry Creek.

Country “99.5 The Bull” KBLL-FM Helena, Classic Rock “Z101” KZMT Helena, Hot AC “B104.1” KBMI-FM East Helena, and News/Talk 950 KCAP/K240EM Helena will go to Montana Radio Company for $1.89 million. Montana Radio Company has also registered 995KBLL.com perhaps hinting at a change away from Country as it becomes a sister to “107.3 The Mighty ‘Mo” KIMO.

Cherry Creek will pay $440,000 for the three Great Falls translators: Sports “ESPN 99.9” K260AU, Classic Rock “103.9 The Big Stack” K280GG, and 107.5 K298BL which currently rebroadcasts KIMO. With the acquisition of those translators, Cherry Creek has flipped their Classic Rock “Rock 92.9” KLFM Great Falls to Classic Hits “Kool 92.9“. The new format is positioned as “Montana’s Classic Hits & Oldies”.

Altogether Cherry Creek Media will receive $1.3 million from the series of divestitures.

Original Report 4/6: Cherry Creek Media and Montana Radio Company are swapping assets to allow each group to consolidate operations.

Montana Radio Company will acquire Cherry Creek’s Helena MT properties: Variety Hits “98.5 Dave-FM” KHGC Montana City, Country “99.5 The Bull” KBLL-FM Helena, Classic Rock “Z101” KZMT Helena, Hot AC “B104.1” KBMI-FM East Helena, and News/Talk 950 KCAP/K240EM Helena. They will join MRC’s existing cluster of CHR “Mix 102.3” KMXM Helena Valley NE, AC 105.3 KMTX Helena, Rock “Rock 106.5” KKRK Helena Valley SE, Country “107.3 The Mighty ‘Mo” KIMO Townsend, Sports “ESPN 94.9” K235BW Helena/KIMO-HD3, and Classic Country “Mo Legends 104.5” K283BP Helena/KIMO-HD4.

In exchange Cherry Creek Media will receive Montana Radio Company’s Butte and Great Falls properties. Silent 107.7 KMTZ Walkerville/Butte will join Cherry Creek’s two FMs and 1 AM in that market. In Great Falls Cherry Creek will receive three translators to join its existing 4 FMs and 1 AM: Sports “ESPN 99.9” K260AU, Classic Rock “103.9 The Big Stack” K280GG, and 107.5 K298BL which currently rebroadcasts KIMO. Cherry Creek will also receive an undisclosed amount of money.

The deal will require divestitures in Helena. The Helena Independent Record reports that 98.5 KHGC and 104.1 KBMI-FM will be divested to Hi-Line Radio Fellowship’s Your Network of Praise, which operates a Christian network across Montana and parts of Idaho, North Dakota, and Wyoming. Additionally the intellectual property of KKRK will be moved to a different frequency as that signal will be spun-off to an unknown entity.

Lance Venta is the Owner and Publisher of RadioInsight.com and a consultant for RadioBB Networks specializing in integration of radio and the internet. Lance has two decades of experience tracking the audio industry and its use of digital platforms.

1 Comment


  1. This means Hi-Line will have three stations in Helena (98.5 KHGC, 103.1 KVCM, and 104.1 KBMI; the latter two have the same transmitter location)

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