In what is clearly one of the most impressive groups of broadcasters to ever join forces to buy a radio station, Larry Fuss (pictured here with John Tesh) has put together a team of rock stars to purchase KZZV-FM in Hanapepe Hawai’i, on the island of Kaua’i. The company they formed is called Kauai Broadcast Partners. KZZV-FM is owned by Virtues Communication of New York and the station is currently dark. We spoke to Fuss yesterday about how he pulled this idea together.
But before we get to our interview with Fuss, here’s the roster of broadcasters he assembled to purchase the radio station. He says when the opportunity to buy a station in Hawai’i came along, he reached out to a bunch of friends and they all agreed that owning a radio station in Hawai’i would be a fun project. “As a result, Kauai Broadcast Partners LLC was born.”
Julie Koehn of WLEN(FM) in Adrian, Michigan
Paul Tinkle of Thunderbolt Broadcasting in Martin, Tennessee
Tommy Tatum of Delta Radio Network in Greenville, Mississippi
Rob Sidney, former Program Director of WLYF in Miami
Syndication Pro Scott Meyers
Paul Gardner of KELK/KLKO in Elko, Nevada
Joey Cummings, General Manager of KKHJ/WVUV in Pago Pago, American Samoa
Cindy May Johnson of East Kentucky Broadcasting in Pikeville, Kentucky
Kim Love of Sheridan Media in Sheridan, Wyoming
Beth Mann of WKDZ in Cadiz, Kentucky
Don & Susanne Earnhart of WJGA-FM in Jackson, Georgia
Ken Kuenzie and Dennis Klautzer of Viper Communications in Osage Beach, Missouri
Jonbob Wise of WMYQ-FM in Greenwood, Mississippi
Jonathan Smith of WKEY(FM) in Key West, Florida
Will Russell of WESR-AM/FM in Onley, Virginia
John Nichols from WKXY-FM in Cleveland, Mississippi
John Raynar, Sales Manager of KKHJ/WVUV in Pago Pago, American Samoa
Fletcher Ford of Virden Broadcasting/Regional Media in Davenport, Iowa
Nevada Association of Broadcasters EAS Chairman Adrienne Abbot
Broadcast engineer and TV meteorologist Kirk Harnack of Nashville
Imaging-voiceover talent Mark McKay
Greg Tacher of Tacher & Associates
Communications attorney Barry Wood of Alexandra, Virginia
Joe Weilenman, an architect based in Pago Pago, American Samoa
Larry Gray Fuss, Jr. of Las Vegas.
Radio Ink: Tell us about the station and why you were interested in owning it?
Larry Fuss: I put KKHJ-FM on-air in Pago Pago in 1999. At the time, most people thought I was crazy to be building a radio station 8000 miles from home. However, it worked out well and we have grown to a two-station cluster, plus an LPTV and a cable ad channel. When the Kaua’i station came available, Paul Gardner from KELK/KLKO in Elko, Nevada, said “you should go look at it on your way back from Pago Pago.” I did. There wasn’t much to it, but I saw potential. I put together the idea to buy it and e-mailed a bunch of friends. Less than 30 days later, the contract was signed and the transfer application was filed with the FCC. So, I guess we can say it’s all Paul Gardner’s fault.
Radio Ink: Why not buy the station outright yourself?
Larry Fuss: I thought about it, but I’m so deep in Mississippi right now I’m rather tapped out. I thought it would make a great project to involve a bunch of other broadcast friends.
Radio Ink: Any idea yet what your format will be?
Larry Fuss: Polka. But seriously, we’re not ready to disclose that just yet.
Radio Ink: How did you come up with the list of names you approached?
Larry Fuss: I just reached out to friends in the business.
Radio Ink: Are they all investors and how will this work?
Larry Fuss: Everyone involved will be a voting member of the LLC. However, we’ll have a five-member board.
Radio Ink: Are you going to be at the station or hire a manager?
Larry Fuss: We’ll be hiring a manager.
In addition to Fuss’ broadcast interests in American Samoa and Mississippi, he also serves on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), representing American Samoa, Hawai’i, Guam, the Northern Marianas, and Southern California.
Larry Fuss can be reached at [email protected]