KBCR radio changes hands

Former Turner TV exec leads new ownership

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A former cable TV executive has struck a deal to purchase KBCR radio in Steamboat Springs.

It is the second time in eight months that the station has changed hands.

Pending Federal Com-munications Commission approval, William Merriam of Radio America Limited has agreed to pay Cool Radio LLC $2.4 million in a combined deal for KBCR AM and FM in Steamboat and KSNO-FM in Snowmass Village.

Merriam, based in a Maryland suburb of Wash-ington, D.C., was a key executive at Turner Broadcasting System in Atlanta in the 1970s and '80s. He does not own any other radio stations, according to Radio and Records Inc., which provides research to the industry.

Merriam said the purchase of the stations in the two ski towns won't be his last.

"The acquisition of these stations is the beginning of a radio group that we hope to grow in the region," Merriam said in a prepared statement. "We are very excited to acquire these strong local radio stations in Colorado's mountain resorts and communities."

Cool Radio has owned the two signals in Steamboat since Nov. 15, 2004. Tom Palmer, general manager of KBCR, said the company sold the stations in Steamboat and Aspen to pursue opportunities closer to its base in Chicago.

Merriam is president of WDMerriam & Associates in North Potomac, Md. During a long tenure with TBS, as it grew from a local TV station to a multibillion dollar network, Merriam rose to the rank of executive vice president of operations. In that role, he was in charge of designing, building and managing operations for TBS SuperStation, Turner Network Television and TBS Classic Movies.

Under Cool Radio's leadership, KBCR took a big step in April, converting its AM signal from an oldies format to ESPN sports talk radio. The FM side continues to play contemporary country music.

In his statement, Merriam recognized that all three stations are linked strongly to their respective communities and said he has no intent to change their local orientation.

"Their commitment to local information, news and local sports will only continue to get bigger," Merriam said. "It is radio's job to be at the center of community life and information and entertain. We know great radio is created by great people, and we are firm believers in creating career paths for our people and promoting internally wherever possible."

Approval of the sale by the FCC could take 30 to 90 days.

Radio America Limited anticipates taking over the three radio stations by the end of August.

-- To reach Tom Ross call 871-4205 or e-mail tross@steamboatpilot.com

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