East Texas radio stations go silent with sale pending

Employees say they started noticing problems long and have even received bad checks

Radio Silence

JACKSONVILLE, TEXAS (KLTV) - Four East Texas radio stations owned by former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee and Paul Coates are expected to be sold to the parent company of Tyler-based KVNE and KGLY.

The stations were acquired by East Texas Results Media in 2017 for $1.2 million following a dispute within the former company, Waller Broadcasting. That resulted in the stations being turned off and the staff being locked out of the Jacksonville studios.

Coates said they went through three different staffs and could never generate the revenue needed.

“The revenue part,” Coates said. “You’ve got to have revenue with any business in order to make it work and that’s one of the areas that we were never quite able to get done.”

He said when the KVNE folks approached him about purchasing four of the six stations, they decided it was the best decision to sell. They plan on programming the stations with Christian formats.

The radio stations have been off air since the end of June. A former on-air host and program director at the stations tells us he first noticed problems long ago when he moved here from Tennessee for the job.

“I actually didn’t see the official announcement until it was posted in an online trade magazine,” Ronnie Bruce said. “I saw it there and thought, ‘well it’s officially for sell.”

Bruce says he and other employees started noticing late pay back in the spring and even received bad checks. One employee told us that he is owed more than $11,000.

“I’m very disappointed, almost shocked, that they would move me halfway across the country, knowing that the company was in that condition," Bruce said.

East Texas Results Media will retain KTLU-AM and KEBE-AM with plans to sell. The other four stations, KLJT-FM, KFRO-FM, KMPA-FM, and KZXM-FM, will be sold to the owners of KVNE and KGLY, the Education Radio Foundation of East Texas.

Coates said the building will also be sold off, and he believes it would make a great addition to the nearby UT Health campus.

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