Through licensee McKernan Radio Group, led by Tim McKernan, Randy Markel took on the St. Louis sports market by taking the lead in acquiring Class B KFNS-AM 590 “The Fan,” licensed to Wood River, Ill., for $300,000 in February 2016.
The deal came via a court order handed down in fall 2015 to sell the station, as former owner Grand Slam Sports LLC went into receivership.
Now, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports, Markel has had enough as an owner.
KFNS is a Class B authorized to broadcast with 1kw via a directional antenna, using 4 towers during the day and 3 towers at night for its Sports Talk format.
With some $3 million invested in The Fan, Markel tells the newspaper’s Media Views columnist Dan Caesar, “I’ve accomplished what I want with the lineup, other than getting Kevin (Slaten) back.” Slaten holds the 7am-9am shift at KQQZ-AM 1190, and focuses his chat on political talk and sports.
This could be moot, Caesar says, as Markel is in negotiations with CH Radio Holdings and the St. Louis Cardinals baseball club on a possible deal that would see KFNS become a sibling of CH’s Class B Talk KTRS-AM 550 in St. Louis.
This wouldn’t necessarily be an “exit” for Markel, as he sees it.
“I’m hoping we’ll get something worked out,” Markel told the Post-Dispatch. “It’s in everybody’s best interest. They’d be buying me out or merging with me, not vice versa. I’m open to just about anything … I think it makes so much sense.”
This scenario is unlikely. CH Radio Holdings partner and KTRS GM Mark Dorsey told the newspaper that while his group and Markel are talking, “We don’t want a limited partnership; we don’t want a 50-50 split. We want to run it. If Randy wants to relinquish it, then I’d go to our board (of directors). They’re open to growth.”
Markel was until recently the owner of two local Chuck’s Boots. He says he wants to focus his efforts on a youth baseball complex he and local automobile dealer George “Skip” Weber are trying to develop near the Lake of the Ozarks.