Five La Crosse area radio stations could be for sale as part of the parent company’s bankruptcy proceedings.
Earlier this month a federal bankruptcy judge authorized Mississippi Valley Broadcasters to retain a media brokerage firm to help sell assets, which include licenses for WLXR-FM (Magic 105), KQEG-FM (Eagle 102.7), WKBH-FM (Classic Rock 100.1), WQCC-FM (Kicks 106.3) and WLFN-AM (Today’s Talk 1490).
“We’re testing the waters,” said Pat Smith, managing partner of MVB. “You’re always curious what your radio group might be worth. The only way to find out is to put it on the market.”
Smith said he has not received any offers to buy the company.
Federal rules limit the number of stations within a market that may be owned by a single entity. In the La Crosse market, one company can hold up to six licenses, with no more than four AM or FM stations.
Mississippi Valley Broadcasters filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in July, saying it had been unable to maintain minimum deposits required under a loan agreement with Coulee Bank that also precluded payments on a 2007 loan from the estate of former co-owner Howard Bill.
In April, a La Crosse County judge awarded Bill’s estate a $1.1 million settlement for the unpaid debt.
Smith said the company has not missed any bank or vendor payments, and bankruptcy filings indicate its 20-plus employees are still receiving paychecks.
As of Sept. 30, the company listed assets of about $3.3 million and a little more than $3 million in debts, including $1.7 million owed to Coulee Bank.
Smith, who started 43 years ago as a weekend disc jockey on AM 1490, said he hopes to emerge from the bankruptcy proceedings intact.
“I think it’s fair to say that you’re always for sale if the right price comes along,” he said. “We’re not planning to jump ship, but we need to find out what’s going on out there.”