KSNO is changing hands
One of Aspen’s first radio stations has come full circle in terms of local ownership and interests.KSNO-FM, which was started as an AM station by former Aspen Times publisher Bil Dunaway in the early 1960s, is in the process of being taken over by the Colorado West Broadcasting Co. Colorado West owns KMTS-FM, a 30-year-old country and western station in Glenwood Springs that also was started by Dunaway in the 1970s.KSNO, at 106.1 on the FM dial in Aspen, is being sold by the Cool Radio LLC, which also owns stations in Vail and Steamboat Springs, for $1.05 million, according to Gabe Chenoweth, president of Colorado West Broadcasting. Colorado West also owns a second Glenwood Springs station, KGLN-AM.”The changeover hasn’t taken place yet,” said KSNO station manager Don Chaney on Friday, explaining that the paperwork formalizing the sale has not been completed. But, he said, Colorado West Broadcasting has been managing KSNO for more than a year already, under what is known as a Limited Marketing Agreement, which permits two different stations to be operated under the same corporate framework.Chaney said that the Federal Communications Commission has approved the sale. The sale is scheduled to close Sept. 12, he said. Chaney, who Cheneweth said will soon be “essentially the general manager of the station,” predicted no changes in KSNO’s “adult rock” format, which includes a morning newscast by news director Ron Milhorn in Glenwood Springs.Recent personnel changes at KSNO, Chaney said, were unrelated to the sale of the station. He said former afternoon deejay Dawn Dabek recently left the station recently because she was moving away from the area. Her afternoon time slot has been filled by Les Helton, who had been working part time for the station.Chaney said he is hoping to expand the station’s news operation to include an afternoon newscast, adding, “I’d like to have a news person up here, too. We’re having tons of discussion about that.”Chenoweth added that “news and local information has always been a strong point of our philosophy … so it makes sense for us to continue that as much as we can.” He said exactly how that will be done is still under discussion.This is Chaney’s second time around at KSNO, he said. He has been on the job there a little more than a year, but worked for the station for about the same length of time several years ago before leaving to start his own short-lived advertising company. He also worked for KSPN-FM, another Aspen station, in the 1990s.KSNO itself has a storied history that started when Dunaway sold it in the late 1970s to Ohio businessman Al Vontz, who later obtained an FM license for the station, according to former KSNO General Manager Dave Johnson. Johnson said Vontz sold the station in the early 1990s to Cliff Gardner, who sold it to Cool Radio several years ago.Colorado West Broadcasting, Chenoweth said, is a private corporation in which “most of the stockholders are employees” along with two out-of-state stockholders who have been involved since it was created by Dunaway in 1971.The sale of the station to Colorado West, said Johnson, “is really going to be a better deal for Aspen. Those guys are real broadcasters.”John Colson’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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