Hartford combo on the edge of Milwaukee sold


Dave and Connie Stout told RBR-TVBR that their love of radio did not end when they sold their stations to Armada Radio back in 2007. Now, in 2011, they have a deal in place to grab WTKM AM-FM in Hartford WI, just to the northwest of Milwaukee.

The Stouts have formed Tomsun Media LLC to function as the license company. The seller, Scott A. Lopas and his Kettle Moraine Broadcasting Company, stand to make $1.95M by the time all the wheels in a multi-faceted compensation package stop spinning.

Dave Stout said this deal was a chance to go home. “l grew up in Menomonee Falls and started radio in Port Washington, Wisconsin in 1977, so the opportunity to own and operate local area radio stations was simply too good to pass up. We look forward to continuing the stations’ strong community involvement that Scott Lopas has built. We really love live and local, hometown radio.”

Connie Stout began added, “Scott Lopas has done a fantastic job molding WTKM into a strong, live and local voice in Southeast Wisconsin. In this world of automated radio stations, WTKM stands out as a rare and unique locally focused operation with live announcers on the air all day and during the weekends.”

Lopas also weighed in, saying, “l really wasn’t positioning the stations for a sale at this time. But when the Stouts approached me and I discovered we shared the same interests in strong community involvement, nurturing of a local staff and a love for the type of hometown radio WTKM represents, I knew these were the right people to continue this legacy for the heritage stations. WTKM is such a big part of so many listeners’ lives. I could only pass the baton to owners who have that same passion for local public service.”

Lopas will be hanging around for awhile, thanks to a consulting agreement of unspecified value that’s mentioned in the contract. Here’s how the rest of the compensation package breaks down. Tomsun will pay $150K cash at closing for real estate, will put $85K in escrow for the stations; pay another $665K in cash at closing, strike a note for $900K and will provide Kettle Moraine’s remaining business interest with a $150K advertising credit. Lopas will change his company’s name to Tour Company to avoid any lingering link to the call letters. $100K of the total will be allocated to a three-year non-compete.

The stations are mostly local to Hartford and parts north and west of Milwaukee, but do manage to score ratings in the lower echelon of the local Arbitron reports. The AM is a day-timer on 1540 kHz with 500 Watts on a non-directional antenna; and FM is a Class A on 104.9 MHz with 5.8 kW @ 299’ HAAT.

The stations are programmed with the local population in mind, providing a mix that includes polka, news, classic country, local talk and high school sports.