Wisconsin radio operator Mississippi Valley Broadcasters, the company owned by Pat Smith and Kelly Ramsey, has struck a trio of deals that will close four decades of ownership in the La Crosse market. The duo will sell three of its stations to Magnum Media, with two others going to religious broadcasters Educational Media Foundation and The Salvation Poem Foundation. The sale comes two years after Mississippi Valley Broadcasters exited Chapter 11 bankruptcy with ownership of all five of its stations after it restructured its debts.
Magnum will buy country “Kicks 106.3” WQCC, classic hits “MeTV FM 102.7” KQEG and “Today’s Talk 1450” WLFN. Terms of the deal weren’t immediately released. Magnum Media already owns “Classic Rock 94.5” WTMB, AC “Mix 96.1” WXYM and “Bog Country 1460” WBOG in the La Crosse market. It also owns stations in the Milwaukee and Madison markets.
“A dedicated bunch of folks really stuck together over 14 months to put this puzzle of transactions together,” said President Dave Magnum. “I’ve known Pat Smith for a long time; he’s a multi-talented broadcaster who forged and sustained a very impressive radio career. Pat and his business partner, Kelly Ramsey, achieved many successes.”
Mississippi Valley Broadcasters will also sell “Classic Rock 100.1” WKBH to Educational Media Foundation. EMF doesn’t currently own any stations in western Wisconsin.
In the final piece of the deal, Mississippi Valley Broadcasters will sell AC “Magic 105” WLXR to the Salvation Poem Foundation. Its contemporary Christian “Prayz Network” already airs on WEQS (89.3) and WTPN (103.9) in the La Crosse market.
Smith will retire after assisting with the transition, saying in the announcement that he plans to focus on his health and spending time with his grandkids. “La Crosse has been a great place to raise a family. My wife, Joanie, also works at the stations. Together we learned from Joe Rohrer and Wisconsin Broadcasting Hall of Famer Jean Gitz Bassett how broadcasters can serve their community,” he said. “I will always be thankful that so many of our team members shared our vision.”
Smith entered the radio industry in 1974 as a part-time air personality while earning his Mass Communications degree at UW-La Crosse. He went on to work as a Program Director, Farm Director, News Reporter/Anchor, Operations Manager, Salesperson, Sales Manager, General Manager, and now minority ownership as Managing Member of Mississippi Valley Broadcasters.