Erika Engle

Thursday, June 26, 2003

FCC rules vote
broadsides Big Island
broadcast sales deal

The June 2 Federal Communications Commission vote on media ownership was not supposed to have any impact on a pending neighbor island radio deal, but it did.

To the knowledge of those involved, the purchase of four Maverick Media LLC radio stations on the Big Island by Maui-based Pacific Radio Group Inc. was not covered under the FCC's proposed rule changes. However, the vote was taken on the very day the transfer of the station licenses was expected to be approved -- and the commission froze all such approvals.

The commission is not yet ready to release the new rules but once that is done they will take effect about a month later, according to spokeswoman Michelle Russo.

"Every application is on hold," said Gary Rozynek, Maverick president. Other than that the parties have an agreement for the sale of KKBG-FM 97.9, KLEO-FM 106.1, KKOA-FM 107.7 and KHLO-AM 850, Rozynek said. "I think we're shooting for a July 31 or Aug. 1 closing."

It could close prior to final FCC approval but there is a risk, if for whatever reason the commission does not grant final approval. "Generally, you wait," said Chuck Bergson, Pacific Radio president and chief operating officer.

Pacific Radio will pay $2.2 million plus a percentage of Maverick's receivables, although Bergson did not have an estimate of the latter amount.

After expected approvals, Pacific Radio will own 10 stations, three AMs and seven FMs, including Maui's KPOA-FM 93.5, KJMD-FM 98.3, KNUI-FM/AM 99.9/900, KLHI-FM 101.1 and KMVI-AM 550.

Phil Brewer, outgoing general manager of Maverick's Big Island cluster, will serve Pacific as a consultant for about six months.

"Those guys (at Pacific) love him," Rozynek said. "He had done a tremendous job for us out there, he's really turned that whole operation around."

Brewer came out of retirement in Arizona late last year to run the stations he once owned. "I think my job is about done," he said. He plans to give retirement another try.

Pacific has some general manager candidates in mind but has yet to solicit applicants, Bergson said.

Maverick's a.m. moves

A new morning team is coming to Maverick Honolulu's KUMU-AM/FM 1500/94.7, General Manager Jeff Coelho said.

Tiny Tadani, host of "TinyTV" on Oceanic Cable channel 16 and former KHON-TV News reporter Bill Brennan hit the a.m. airwaves July 1.

"You might say it's the long and short of morning radio," Coelho said, a smiling reference to the disparity in host heights. Current morning host Mandy Suganuma will remain a part of the show and will serve as producer.

Tadani did morning fill-ins in April when difficulties developed in Maverick's sale of KUMU-AM/FM and KAHA-FM 105.9 to Georgia-based Real Radio of America LLC. The sale fell through and "Real Radio is real gone," Coelho said.

Coelho, Tadani and Brennan met for a finalization lunch last weekend and Tadani taped the event for his cable show, which is to air next week.

See the Columnists section for some past articles.

Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin.
Call 529-4302, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle,
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210,
Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached


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