Radio station changing hands

KBCR to be acquired by Illinois-based COOL Radio

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Steamboat Springs' first radio station is changing ownership.

KBCR President John Gayer announced that the family-owned country music station will be acquired by Illinois-based COOL Radio, pending approval from the Federal Communications Commission.

"It's a big step for us after 30 years," said Gayer's father, John Gayer Sr., who started the radio station in 1974.

Gayer, who lives on the Front Range, cited health concerns and his son's busy work schedule as the primary reasons for the sale.

"We just decided we couldn't give it the local attention since we weren't living there," Gayer said Tuesday.

Gayer said he didn't expect any format changes under the new ownership, a belief confirmed by Tony Mauro, COOL Radio's vice president of operations.

"We don't expect any changes at all," Mauro said from his office in Avon. "I wouldn't want someone coming into my community and messing with the radio station."

Mauro said COOL Radio is acquiring a KBCR station that's financially stable and has a strong commitment to community.

No turnover is expected for station employees, including KBCR general manager Tom Palmer, Mauro said.

"Honestly, we're getting into a situation that's positive regarding the staff," he said. "We want that station to be managed locally. Tom is a Steamboat native. It's hard to find someone with a stronger connection to the community."

Palmer couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday.

KBCR will continue to cover Steamboat Springs High School sports as well as provide local news on an AM and FM broadcast, Mauro said.

COOL Radio is owned by Tom Dobrez, who resides in Illinois. The company, however, operates just two radio stations, both in Colorado. KZYR serves the Vail and Avon area, while KSNO serves Aspen, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs.

COOL Radio will pay $690,000 to the Gayer family for KBCR, according to the contract signed by both parties. Per FCC regulations, a 45-day public comment period regarding the sale began last week. The FCC can approve the transfer of ownership after the public comment period has expired.

-- To reach Brent Boyer call 871-4234

or e-mail bboyer@steamboatpilot.com

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