Bustos Bulks Up With North-of-Seattle FM Buy

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There’s a whole lot of movement going on in the Seattle-Tacoma area, but we’re not talking about earthquakes.


With format changes impacting country music fans and iHeartMedia grabbing KZOK-FM, KJAQ-FM and KFNQ-AM as part of a trade with Entercom that allowed the company to complete its merger with CBS Radio, the hub of the Pacific Northwest has witnessed a lot of shake up at its AMs and FMs.

Now, country music fans in the northern portion of the metro area are set to lose a “Q.”  Thank Amador Bustos for that forthcoming change.

Mr. Bustos is the President of Bustos Media Holdings, the company he formed in 2003 and has essentially rebuilt after selling many of his assets in 2010 to the now-defunct Adelante Media Group, due to a technical default with Bustos Media’s lenders.

In 2011, Adelante reacquired his Portland, Ore., stations. In September 2014, he paid $6 to grab nine stations in four Washington markets, one of which is Seattle-Tacoma.

The stations Bustos grabbed back from the Jay Meyers and Ed Krampf-led operation were KDDS-FM 99.3 in Elma, Wash., a Class C with 64kw at 2,434 feet, and KMIA-AM 1210, licensed to Auburn-Federal Way, Wash. — a directional Class B with 27.5kw during daylight hours and 10kw at night.

KDDS reaches the Seattle-Tacoma area and the capitol city of Olympia from a tower in the Olympic National Forest, and can be heard in Centralia and as far away as Astoria, Ore.

However, Bustos can’t reach any communities north of Everett — until now.

That’s because his company is purchasing KMCQ-FM 103.3 in Oak Harbor, Wash., from Everett-Snohomish Broadcasting.

It’s a fairly new facility, and signed on in May 2016; the original KMCQ is now KLOVE member station KLSW-FM 104.5, licensed to Covington, Wash. That facility dropped the KMCQ call sign in June 2015.

Bustos is paying $1.2 million for KMCQ. To make the deal happen, a cash payment of $180,000 will be made at closing to the seller. Bustos is then entering into a promissory note in the amount of $1.02 million.

The promissory note will bear interest at a rate which is 1.25 points above the Prime Rate
as reported by The Wall Street Journal as of the date of closing, but in no event shall the
applicable interest rate be less than 5% per annum on the unpaid balance.

Representing Bustos as legal counsel in this transaction is Dennis J. Kelly Esq., based in Washington, D.C.

Once the deal is completed, KMCQ listeners near Everett will likely need to switch to two stations based to the south, with listeners closer to Bellingham, Wash., relying on a Canadian source for country music.

Among the choices is Hubbard Radio’s KVRQ-FM 98.9, which just switched to Country from Rock to fill the void left by KMPS-FM 94.1’s abandonment of the format after 40 years — a move precipitated by Entercom’s merger with CBS Radio.

That deal resulted in co-ownership of KMPS, a former CBS Radio station, and Entercom’s Country KKWF-FM 100.7. The surviving home for Country was determined to be Entercom’s lower-rated station.

Neither KVRQ nor KKWF have strong signals north of Mt. Vernon and Burlington, Wash. This means the only choice for Country is CJJR-FM 93.7, a Vancouver, B.C.-based giant owned by The Jim Pattison Broadcast Group.

While Bustos has not revealed his plans for KMCQ, it could end up simulcasting KDDS’s regional Mexican “La Gran D” presentation.


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