The NY Times reports an LPTV station in Muskegon, Michigan – WMKG-LP, Channel 38 – that airs a mix of live talk shows and outdoor sports programming, is “priced to sell” at $700,000, according to its listing on eBay. And the owner, Bud Kelley, says he’ll go even lower.
Kelley had originally listed the station – including property, license and equipment – on the online auction site for $1 million before dropping the price to $700,000, and said on Thursday that he’d be happy with a $500,000 cash sale.
Most of the people who have inquired so far were “tire-kickers,” he said, though serious offers have come his way. “It’s a real station, not a toy,” said Kelley, 67, who has run the 24-hour station since it went live in April 1990. “It’s just retirement time for me.”
Among the thorns in his side: the weekly bingo show, which airs on Thursdays at 7 p.m., later than he wants to work. Residents pick up their card at a local store, watch on the station’s channel 38 as the numbers get picked and call in if they have a winning ticket and win a small prize. It’s one of the station’s more popular shows.
Kelley said the business, run out of Muskegon, is profitable even though he hadn’t made the switch to a digital signal from analog. A new owner could spend $100,000 or more to add the digital transmitter.
The station used to have a half dozen people to help produce a local news show, but financial pressure in recent years forced it to get out of the news business. He still carries around a camera, though, because “it’s hard to take the newsroom out of the boy,” he said.
Kelley said he planned to move to Florida with Michelle, his wife of 35 years – “and not much longer if I don’t get rid of this station” – and spend his time on his other passions, including bicycling, fishing and square dancing.