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Radio One sold to Adams Radio Group

Updated: April 28, 2014 10:25AM



VALPARAISO — Radio One Communications and the four stations it owns in the region are changing hands.

Little else will change, according to officials from both Radio One and Adams Radio Group, which is purchasing the company, except technology so the stations are working off the same systems.

“Our clients we’ve been serving for 50 years, the listeners we’ve been serving 50 years, won’t see any difference,” said Leigh Ellis, whose father, Len, founded Radio One.

Radio One started as a single AM country station, WAKE, and has grown to include three FM stations, Indiana 105.5, X-Rock 103.9, and Z107.1.

The family-owned company is being sold to Minneapolis-based Adams Radio Group. Ellis said the sale, announced publicly on Wednesday, would be complete with Federal Communications Commission approval in the next 30 to 90 days.

“The Ellis family will continue to operate it 100 percent until that day,” Ellis said. “It’s bittersweet. I am second generation. My father started the operation in 1964, and I have been running it the last 40 years. The most difficult thing will be not working with the staff that I have.”

Some of the 35-person staff has been at the station as long as Ellis has been involved, he said, adding that Adams Radio Group will be leaving the staff intact.

“We don’t have any intent on changing anything,” other than some of the technology, said Ron Stone, president and chief executive officer of Adams Radio.

The Radio One stations, which serve seven counties in Northwest Indiana and parts of Cook and Will counties in Illinois, will be the third market for Adams Radio Group since it re-entered the radio business in July.

The company closed on four stations in Las Cruces, N.M., in December, and is awaiting FCC approval for the combined Oasis and Summit radio groups in Fort Wayne, expected to close in May. A purchase price for Radio One was not disclosed.

Adams Radio is “extremely excited” about what the Ellis family has built over the last 50 years, Stone said.

“With its proximity (to Fort Wayne), it makes so much sense,” he said, adding he was on hand Tuesday when Ellis told employees the station was being sold to Adams Radio.

Ellis, who plans on spending more time with his family once the sale is complete, said he would make himself available to Adams Radio as needed.

And that’s fine with Stone, who said he plans to use the help, especially tapping Ellis’ expertise on maximizing radio towers.

“When it comes to this industry, they’ve been pioneers for a long time,” he said.



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