After 28 years of airing big band to soft contemporary music from Breezy Point, KLKS Radio - or K-Lakes, as it's affectionately called - is being sold.
An application is pending with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to transfer the license from Lakes Broadcasting Group (owner of KLKS 104.3 FM) to Minnesota Christian Broadcasters Inc. (MCBI) in Pequot Lakes.
MCBI owns KTIG 102.7 FM and WZFJ 100.1 FM The Pulse in Pequot Lakes, as well as KCFB 91.5 FM in St. Cloud. MCBI is a non-commercial operation, and relies on listeners and business underwriters to provide its funding, said Mike Heuberger, general manager of MCBI.
Pending the FCC approval by September, plans would be to move the The Pulse from 100.1 to KLKS' 104.3 frequency, so the Christian contemporary music format would reach a much bigger area and audience, Heuberger said.
He said MCBI has been looking for three years to build a tower to increase The Pulse's power.
"Every direction we seem to go the door closes and we can't find land to do this," Heuberger said.
Until the owners of KLKS decided to sell.
Bob Bundgaard, Lakes Broadcasting Group general manager, KLKS morning announcer and a part owner in the business said it was time to sell the radio station. His father - Ernie "Allen" Bundgaard, better known as radio personality Allen Gray - founded the station in 1984.
"I know Mike Heuberger with (MCBI) will take good care of 104.3," Bob Bundgaard said.
"It's really been an amazing ride here at KLKS," he said. "When you consider we're a standalone radio station in a consolidated world from Breezy Point, Minnesota, our history has been absolutely remarkable."
He said KLKS has been operating in the top three stations in the marketplace with a lesser signal, and he attributes that to his father's vision, the people working there and the program mix.
"We tried to make sure the radio station was northern Crow Wing County," Bundgaard said. "When you listened to it, it felt like that."
Allen Gray started KLKS Radio in a cottage just north of the Breezy Point Resort gates in June 1984. After a fire at the station in 1990, the business moved to its current location on Ski Chalet Drive in Breezy Point.
What started as a station that aired big band music morphed as folks got older into airing soft, contemporary music, said Bundgaard, who moved here with his wife, Carol, in 1986 and joined the station.
"We always had a mature approach, dealing with people in their mid-40s and older - people who didn't want their ear drums assaulted, but who wanted quality programming with significant events," Bundgaard said.
He credited such on-air personalities as his father, who started as a morning announcer; the late Roger Awsumb, otherwise known as Casey Jones; the late Dale Caruso; Scotty Adams; Jim Parks; and Blenda Hagberg; as well as current personalities John Collins, Erick Hedren, Bob Stafford and John Warren.
"Somehow we've just had the ability to hire people that the listeners can really identify with," Bundgaard said.
"We've been in business 28 years and the average small business doesn't make four years. We have been a screaming success," he said.
In April 2010, Gray decided it was time to sell, Bundgaard said, noting the company was successful and it was time to move on. In July 2011, Lakes Broadcasting Group sold its tower to American Tower, and in December 2011 Gray transferred his shares to his sons, Bob and Bruce Bundgaard. Diane Anderson, operations manager, and Tom Kenow, sales manager, also have shares in the business.
"The plan always was to continue with Dad's wishes," Bob Bundgaard said, noting he's not looking at retirement, but rather what his next opportunities are.
Assuming the FCC approves the sale, Heuberger said KTIG 102.7 in Pequot Lakes and KCFB 91.5 in St. Cloud would continue to offer the same religious teach and talk format with about 60 percent talk and 40 percent music as it currently does.
With the 100.1 frequency becoming available, Heuberger said the goal would be to sell it. However, if no buyer could be found, MCBI likely would try another Christian format on that frequency.
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