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|Founded||Salt Lake City, Utah, United States 1964|
|Headquarters||Salt Lake City|
|Parent||Deseret Management Corporation|
Bonneville International Corporation is a media and broadcasting company, wholly owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) through its for-profit arm, Deseret Management Corporation. It began as a radio and TV network in the Triad Center Broadcast House in Salt Lake City, Utah. Bonneville's name alludes to Benjamin Bonneville and the prehistoric Lake Bonneville that once covered much of modern-day Utah, which was named after him.
Bonneville owns about 13 radio stations in four major markets as well as one NBC affiliate television station in its home market. Additionally, its Bonneville Communications division provides marketing and communications strategy and branding services. Bonneville Distribution, another division, provides broadcast syndication and distribution services to non-profit organizations.
Bonneville International was formed in 1964, with approval of the LDS Church's First Presidency. It was formed to acquire KSL-AM-FM-TV, which had previously been subsidiaries of the Deseret News. Soon after its formation, Bonneville purchased KIRO-AM-FM-TV in Seattle. The LDS Church divested itself of these later stations between 1995 and 1997, but reacquired KIRO-AM 10 years later. The company has also owned stations in New York City, Dallas, Kansas City, and Los Angeles at one point.
In 1980 it formed Bonneville Communications Corporation, primarily to broadcast LDS General Conference.
Bonneville prided itself on "values-oriented programming" and community involvement, in line with the company 's mission as set forth by its first president, Arch L. Madsen. According to Bonneville International's website, their values reflect an understanding that "families are the basic unit of society... and that strong families build strong communities."
Due to a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) media cross-ownership rule, Bonneville was unable to purchase additional media outlets in Salt Lake City beyond its flagship cluster. In anticipation of a rule change, Bonneville purchased four additional Salt Lake radio stations in 2002. The FCC did not grant approval for this purchase until 2003, upon which the stations were acquired by Bonneville. The status of this deal is still uncertain—the FCC has only granted a waiver to Bonneville, and a recent court ruling has put the FCC cross-ownership rule changes into question.
On October 4, 2004, Bonneville International announced plans to buy three stations from Emmis Communications in the Phoenix, Arizona market, in exchange for WLUP "The Loop" in Chicago and cash.
On January 4, 2006, Bonneville and The Washington Post announced that the frequencies currently used by WTOP, 1500 kHz AM and 107.7 MHz FM, would be reassigned to a new station, "Washington Post Radio." WTOP would move to 103.5 MHz, the frequencies currently used by classical music station WGMS, which in turn would move to 104.1 and 103.9 MHz, the frequencies used by WWZZ, which would be closed.
WGMS itself would fall silent a little more than a year later, on January 22, 2007. In its place is 1970s-1980s-adult-hits-station WXGG ("George 104"). Simultaneously, public radio station WETA-FM dropped its news/talk format in order to revive its previous classical format, via a partnership with Bonneville. WETA would also receive WGMS' entire music library, hired WGMS' last program director, and also retained the usage of the WGMS call sign. George 104 would last less than four months, when in April 2007, it was announced that the 104.1 frequency would be LMA'd to Radio One. On April 7, 2007 the frequency would flip to a Gospel and Inspiration format, known as Praise 104.1.
The Washington Post Radio experiment ended in September 2007, as the three stations (including the powerful AM 1500 signal) became WWWT, or "3WT". Hosts include syndicated hosts from the Right (Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck, Neal Boortz) and Left (Stephanie Miller) as well as Washington Nationals baseball. The station's morning show will continue.
CBS Radio has announced that it would sell 50 radio stations in 12 markets to focus on major market stations. As of September 22, 2008, Bonneville is one of the seven candidates to make first-round bids.
On August 12, 2009; Citadel Broadcasting has rumored that they're planning to sell the former Disney/ABC's 23 stations to reduce its debt load, however several financial factors may put the deal at risk. While not all the stations can be sold off, Bonneville has expressed interest in 2 FM stations in Washington D.C. (WJZW and WRQX).
On January 19, 2011, Bonneville announced it would sell 17 radio stations in Cincinnati, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and St. Louis to Hubbard Broadcasting for $505 million. The deal closed May 2, 2011.
Stations are arranged in alphabetical order by state and city of license.
Note: Two boldface asterisks appearing following a station's call letters (**) indicates a station that was built and signed-on by a predecessor of Bonneville International.
|City of license/Market||Station||Channel
|Salt Lake City||KSL-TV **||5 (38)||1949||NBC|
|AM Stations||FM Stations|
|Market||Station||Owned Since||Current Format|
|Salt Lake City||KSL-1160 **||1922||News/Talk|
(simulcasts KSL AM)
(previously owned from 1947-1977)
|Soft adult contemporary|
|Seattle - Tacoma||KTTH-770||2007||Conservative talk|
(previously owned from 1964-1997)
Former Bonneville-owned stations
|City of license/Market||Station||Channel
|Years owned||Current ownership status|
|Seattle - Tacoma||KIRO-TV||7 (39)||1964–1995||CBS affiliate owned by Cox Media Group|
From 2010 to 2016, Bonneville International also operated an independent TV station, KJZZ-TV (channel 14), in Salt Lake City, under a local marketing agreement with Larry H. Miller Communications Corporation. The arrangement ended when Sinclair Broadcast Group acquired KJZZ-TV.
Former radio stations
KOIT 96.5 FM, in San Francisco, California, was owned by Bonneville International from 1983, when the radio frequency for KOIT was bought, at 96.5 FM. Bonneville worked to make KOIT a good easy listening radio station. At first, they were playing mostly instrumentals and would put in a vocal song about once every three songs, similar to what San Jose radio station KBAY was doing at the time, in the mid-1980s, on 100.3 FM. However, in 1988, KOIT changed their music so that they ended up playing soft rock mostly. At first, they were playing 1950s through 1980s soft rock. In the mid-1990s, they added more 1990s songs, and finally, in the 2000s, they started playing mostly 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s songs, and dropped all the oldies from the 1950s through the 1970s. Bonneville sold KOIT to Entercom Group in 2007, and exited out of the San Francisco market. WRFM in New York City with a beautiful music format, in 1992 Bonneville changed the stations call letters to WNSR with a Hot Adult Contemporary format then in 1997 the station was sold to Chancellor Media.
|AM Stations||FM Stations|
|Market||Station||Years owned||Current ownership status|
|Phoenix||KMVP-860||2004–2017||Farmworker Educational Radio Network|
|San Francisco||KSFB-1260||1982–2007||Immaculate Heart Radio|
|Los Angeles||KBIG-104.3||1969–1997||iHeartMedia, Inc.|
|New York||WNSR-105.1||1967–1997||iHeartMedia, Inc.|
|Washington, D.C.||WBQH-1050||2004–2011||Hubbard Broadcasting|
|St. Louis||WARH-106.5||2000–2011||Hubbard Broadcasting|
- CBS Kicks Off Radio Station Auction - New York Post (retrieved September 22, 2008)
- DCRTV.net (accessed August 18, 2009)
- "$505M sale: Bonneville sells Chicago, D.C., St. Louis and Cincinnati to Hubbard". Radio-Info.com. January 19, 2011. Archived from the original on January 21, 2011.
- Pierce, Scott (April 28, 2016). "KUTV's parent buys KJZZ from Millers". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved June 20, 2016.
- Brady, Rodney H. (1992), "Bonneville International Corporation", in Ludlow, Daniel H, Encyclopedia of Mormonism, New York: Macmillan Publishing, p. 132, ISBN 0-02-879602-0, OCLC 24502140
- Gold, Troy W. (1994), "Bonneville International Corporation", in Powell, Allan Kent, Utah History Encyclopedia, Salt Lake City, Utah: University of Utah Press, ISBN 0874804256, OCLC 30473917