Details On Ben Thompson’s Purchase Of WCLO/WJVL Janesville

1230 WCLO 92.7 99.9 WJVL Janesville Big Radio BlissNews/Talk 1230 WCLO/92.7 W224DE and Country 99.9 WJVL Janesville will not go to Big Radio directly but to Ben Thompson for $5.75 million.

Ben Thompson is the CEO of Big Radio, which is held by his father Scott Thompson. However the FCC filing contradicts the press release below stating that “Scott Thompson and Big Radio have neither the time nor the desire to be involved in WJVL or WCLO, and will have no ownership, control or ultimate decision making capacity in any radio station licensed to Benjamin Thompson”. The new acquisitions will be operated completely separate from the current five station Big Radio cluster although the filing states they may consider a joint sales agreement and upon the expiration of existing contractual obligations, there is a possibility that, in future, Big Radio and Benjamin Thompson may consider entering arm’s length agreements for shared offices/studios and staffing.

In addition to the $5.7 million purchase, Thompson will also pay Sydney Bliss Jr. $1 million to not compete against WCLO and WJVL for three years and for two years cannot hire or speak with any employees of the stations regarding a job opening.

Original Report 6/3: In a pair of deals Bliss Communications has sold its remaining Wisconsin & Northern Illinois properties including its pair of stations in Janesville WI.

Ben Thompson’s Big Radio will acquire News/Talk 1230 WCLO/92.7 W224DE and Country 99.9 WJVL Janesville for an undisclosed amount. The company’s two daily and three weekly newspapers will go to Adams Publishing Group. That company is led by Mark Adams, son of Stephen Adams owner of Adams Radio Group.

WCLO and WJVL will join a Big Radio group that consists of eight stations and four translators. Bliss previously sold its four stations in suburban Milwaukee to Magnum Broadcasting in 2014.

This is to announce an agreement was reached, and an application is being filed with the FCC for the transfer of radio stations WCLO-AM and WJVL-FM, both in Janesville, Wisconsin, from Southern Wisconsin Broadcasting, LLC to Ben Thompson, CEO of Big Radio.

The seller, Southern Wisconsin Broadcasting, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bliss Communications, Inc., owned by Sidney (“Skip”) H. Bliss. WCLO-AM began broadcasting in 1930 under the leadership of Skip’s father and was the first radio station operated by the Bliss family. WJVL-FM began broadcasting in 1947.

The buyer, Ben Thompson, CEO of Big Radio, is part of a father/son operation, locally operating eight radio stations from its offices in Beloit, Freeport, Monroe, and Janesville.

Scott Thompson founded Big Radio in 1996 with the purchase of two radio stations in Monroe, WI. After four years at Magnetar Capital, a Chicago-based hedge fund, Ben Thompson moved to Beloit and was named CEO of the family business. Both Scott and Ben reside in-market.

Under Ben’s leadership, Big Radio remains committed to its founding ideals, providing superior coverage of the community’s local news, sports, entertainment, and information. Big Radio provides local news 365 days a year, and its sports department broadcasted over 350 regional high school sporting events last year.

Ben Thompson and Big Radio believe the future of radio is local, and aggressively pursue this strategy to the benefit of its listeners and advertisers.

WCLO-AM operates at 1230 kHz, with 1.0 kW day and night. WJVL-FM operates at 99.9 MHz, with 11.0 kW at 502’ HAAT.

Kalil & Co., Inc. represents the buyer in this transaction.

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1 Comment
  1. Eric Jon Magnuson says

    This might not have been reported until last night, but the stations’ GM, Mike O’Brien, has announced his retirement…

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