A Real, and Bigger, Presence In The Upper Midwest


A large noncommercial group of religious radio stations operating in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota has snagged its third FM signal in The Mount Rushmore State.

In doing so, it will bring back to life a Class C3 FM that until September 2017 was a Classic Rocker owned by the central figure behind a payday lender whose business was quashed by South Dakota voters in November 2016, resulting in “For Sale” signs for several of his business purchased with profits from his Dollar Loan Center.

The troubles for Chuck Brennan started with a statewide South Dakota ballot initiative passed in the 2016 elections that limited all short-term lending to 36% APR. This effectively ended a 14 1/2 year run for Dollar Loan Center.

As customers contacted DLC after the measure went into effect, Brennan and his team in June 2017 created a new product designed to meet the new state guidelines. This product was launched in July, but in the state’s view failed to meet its new law.

This resulted in the Sept. 13, 2017, revocation of Dollar Loan Center’s lending licenses by the South Dakota Division of Banking.

In a statement released to the media at the time, Brennan said, “DLC has been in full compliance with the order to immediately stop lending money as well as stopping collection on all DLC loans. DLC does not agree with the order especially as it regards the ability to collect on previous loans however, compliance is mandatory. We remain confident, along with our entire legal team, in DLC’s compliance.”

Building off the success of Dollar Loan Center operations, Brennan reinvested the profits in Badlands Motor Speedway, the 70,000-square foot Badlands Pawn building, and a radio station.

That station was KBAD-FM 94.5, acquired in September 2015 for $1.5 million from the University of Sioux Falls by Brennan-led Badlands Airtime LLC.

Just 10 days after Dollar Loan Center’s operations were effectively stopped by South Dakota state government, KBAD shut down and was put up for sale. Blame was put on legal bills.

“We expect that the costs and time constraints of litigation will be considerable,” Brennan said. “Without the financial support of Dollar Loan Center, and with an unknown time line, we must make difficult business decisions.”

This resulted in the availability of the Badlands Pawn building for $9.45 million, the Badlands Motor Speedway for $9.45 million, and KBAD, which signed on as KCFS-FM in 1985 and was changed to KBAD some 30 years later.

The buyer of KBAD is Real Presence Radio, a Grand Forks, N.D., religious broadcaster that owns 10 stations and four FM translators across the Upper Plains. It is also awaiting FCC approval on the purchases of KGLL-FM in Gillette, Wyo., and KQAQ-AM in Austin, Minn.

How much is Brennan getting for KBAD? The purchase price is $945,000, with attorney Dennis J. Kelly serving as escrow agent. A 10% escrow deposit has been made to Kelly.

At closing, $405,000 will be paid in cash. A Promissory Note of $450,000 bearing an interest at a rate of 8% per year will cover the remainder of the purchase. On the first anniversary of the closing date, a payment of $258,100 is due. On the second anniversary, $240,300 is due.

Steven Moravec of Phoenix Media Group in St. Paul, Minn., served as the broker in this transaction, representing RPR.

Even though Brennan faces a tough legal challenge, he retained his sense of humor in signing off on KBAD’s sale.

Brennan’s activity gained national coverage in 2015, when The Atlantic noted in a lengthy feature article that he was “a payday mogul based in Las Vegas” who had purchased a $9 million second home in Newport Beach, Calif., funded from profits associated with his business.