Bonneville International

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Bonneville International Corporation
TypePrivate
Industry
Founded1964 (1964)
Headquarters,
ParentDeseret Management Corporation
Websitebonneville.com

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 13 radio stations in four major markets as well as one television station in its home market; it also manages eight additional radio stations in two markets under a local marketing agreement. 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.

History[edit]

Bonneville International was formed in 1964, with approval of the LDS Church's First Presidency. It was formed to acquire KSL-AM-FM-TV in its hometown of Salt Lake City, as well as KIRO-AM-FM-TV in Seattle, which had previously been subsidiaries of the Deseret News. The LDS Church divested itself of the Seattle stations between 1995 and 1997, but reacquired KIRO-AM 10 years later.[1] 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 and founder, 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.

Rush Limbaugh once worked for Bonneville Communications, after his stint with the Kansas City Royals.

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.[2]

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).[3]

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.[4] The deal closed May 2, 2011.

On November 17, 2017, Bonneville began operating four San Francisco radio stations and four Sacramento radio stations under a local marketing agreement on behalf of the Entercom Divestiture Trust, following Entercom's merger with CBS Radio.[5] On August 3, 2018, Bonneville acquired the stations outright for $141 million;[6] the deal had been delayed by succession issues related to the death of LDS Church president Thomas S. Monson the preceding January.[7]

On September 30, 2021, it was announced that Bonneville International, owner of the KSL AM and FM stations, would be taking over operations of The Zone sports network. The arrangement with Bonneville will result in select Utah Jazz games being aired on KSL.[8] Founding host Gordon Monson and some producers were laid off by the new management.[9] The Zone introduced a new lineup effective October 20.[10]

Bonneville-owned stations[edit]

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.

Television station[edit]

City of license/Market Station Channel
TV (RF)
Owned since Affiliation
Salt Lake City KSL-TV ** 5 (38) 1949 NBC

Radio stations[edit]

AM Stations FM Stations
Market Station Owned Since Current Format
Phoenix KTAR 620 2004 Sports talk
(ESPN Radio)
KTAR-FM 92.3 2006 News/Talk
KMVP-FM 98.7 2004 Sports talk
Sacramento KHTK 1140 2018 Sports talk
KYMX 96.1 2018 Adult contemporary
KZZO 100.5 2018 Hot adult contemporary
KNCI 105.1 2018 Country music
San Francisco KOIT 96.5 2018
(previously owned from 1975–2008)
Adult contemporary
KUFX 98.5 2018 Classic rock
KMVQ-FM 99.7 2018 Contemporary hit radio
KBLX-FM 102.9 2018 Urban adult contemporary
Denver KEPN 1600 2015 Sports talk
KKFN 104.3 2015 Sports talk
KOSI 101.1 2015 Adult contemporary
KYGO-FM 98.5 2015 Country music
Salt Lake City KSL 1160 ** 1922 News/Talk
KSL-FM 102.7
(simulcasts KSL AM)
2003
KZNS 1280 2021 Sports (The Zone)
KZNS-FM 97.5
(simulcasts KZNS-AM)
2021
KSFI 100.3 ** 2003
(previously owned from 1947–1977)
Soft adult contemporary
KRSP-FM 103.5 2003 Classic rock
Seattle - Tacoma KTTH 770 2008
(previously owned from 1995–1997)
Conservative talk
KIRO 710 2008
(previously owned from 1964–1997)
Sports radio
(ESPN Radio)
KIRO-FM 97.3 2008 News/Talk

On September 30, 2021, Bonneville International, owner of KSL and KSL-TV, began operating KZNS/KZNS-FM "The Zone" in Salt Lake City under a local marketing agreement with Jazz Communications LLC, through the sports division of KSL News Radio. The operating agreement will allow select Utah Jazz games to be simulcast on KSL-AM 1160 and KSL-FM 102.7. Gordon Monson and Austin Horton were among the long time employees of The Zone who were dismissed as a result of KSL Sports assuming operations of KZNS. Although KSL Sports is responsible for overseeing daily operations of KZNS, Ryan Smith dba Jazz Communications LLC retains ownership of both 1280 AM and 97.5 FM according to the FCC database. The Zone's website at 1280thezone.com is now a dead link. The stations can now be streamed at kslsports.com/thezone/. In June 2022, The Zone officially moved its operations from Vivint Arena to newly built studios and office space in the Triad Center, joining the other radio stations (KSL (radio network), KSFI, KRSP-FM) and KSL-TV, as well as Deseret News, a print newspaper owned by the parent company of Bonneville International. KSL News Radio, KSL-TV, KSL.com, and Deseret News share a consolidated newsroom.

Former Bonneville-owned stations[edit]

Television stations[edit]

City of license/Market Station Channel
TV (RF)
Years owned Current ownership status
Cedar City - St. George KCSG 8 (14) 1998–2002 MeTV owned-and-operated (O&O), owned by Weigel Broadcasting
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.[11]

Former radio stations[edit]

AM Station FM Station
Market Station Years owned Current ownership status
Phoenix KIDR 740 1991–1997 En Familia, Inc.
KMVP 860 2004–2017 KNAI Farmworker Educational Radio Network
KHTC 96.9 1991–1997 KMXP iHeartMedia
San Francisco KSFB 1260 1982–2008 Relevant Radio
KBWF 95.7 1997–2008 KGMZ-FM Entercom
KDFC-FM 102.1 1997–2008 KRBQ Entercom
Los Angeles KBRT 740 1969–1980 Crawford Broadcasting
KBIG 104.3 1969–1998 iHeartMedia
KZLA-FM 93.9 1998–2000 KLLI Meruelo Group
KSWD 100.3 2008–2015 KKLQ Educational Media Foundation
Washington, D.C. WBQH 1050 2004–2011 Hubbard Broadcasting
WFED 1500 1998–2011 Hubbard Broadcasting
WWFD 820
(simulcasts WFED)
1996–2011 Hubbard Broadcasting
WTOP-FM 103.5 1998–2011 Hubbard Broadcasting
WTLP 103.9
(simulcasts WTOP-FM)
1996–2011 Hubbard Broadcasting
WWWT-FM 107.7
(simulcasts WTOP-FM)
1998–2011 Hubbard Broadcasting
WPRS-FM 104.1 1996–2008 Urban One
Idaho Falls - Pocatello KSLJ 690 2003–2006 KEII Riverbend Communications
KSSL 1260 2003–2006 KNBL Riverbend Communications
KBLI 1620 2003–2006 defunct, went silent in 2006
KLCE 97.3 2003–2006 Riverbend Communications
KCVI 101.5 2003–2006 Riverbend Communications
KFTZ 103.3 2003–2006 Riverbend Communications
KTHK 105.5 2003–2006 Riverbend Communications
Chicago WDRV 97.1 2000–2011 Hubbard Broadcasting
WWDV 96.9
(simulcasts WDRV)
2000–2011 Hubbard Broadcasting
WLUP-FM 97.9 1997–2005 WCKL Educational Media Foundation
WILV 100.3 1997–2011 WSHE-FM Hubbard Broadcasting
WTMX 101.9 1970–2011 Hubbard Broadcasting
Kansas City KCMO 810 1993–1997 WHB Union Broadcasting
(KCMO is now at 710 AM)
KMBZ 980 1967–1997 Entercom
KCMO-FM 94.9 1993–1997 Cumulus Media
KLTH 99.7 1967–1997 KZPT Entercom
St. Louis WIL 1430 2000–2008 defunct, went silent in 2020
was KZQZ at time of license cancellation
WARH 106.5 2000–2011 Hubbard Broadcasting
WIL-FM 92.3 2000–2011 Hubbard Broadcasting
WXOS 101.1 2000–2011 Hubbard Broadcasting
New York WNSR 105.1 1967–1997 WWPR-FM iHeartMedia
Cincinnati WKRQ 101.9 2008–2011 Hubbard Broadcasting
WREW 94.9 2008–2011 Hubbard Broadcasting
WUBE-FM 105.1 2008–2011 Hubbard Broadcasting
WYGY 97.3 2008–2011 Hubbard Broadcasting
Dallas–Fort Worth KAAM 1310 1978–1994 KTCKCumulus Media
KZPS 92.5 1978–1997 iHeartMedia
KDGE 94.5 1995–1997 KZMJ Urban One
Houston KLDE 94.5 1997–1998 KTBZ-FM iHeartMedia
Salt Lake City KUTR 820 2004–2008 Truth Broadcasting Corporation
St. George KDXU 890 2003–2006 Townsquare Media
KUNF 1210 2003–2006 KHKR Townsquare Media
KREC 98.1 2003–2006 Townsquare Media
KSNN 106.1 2003–2006 KIYK 107.3 Townsquare Media
Seattle - Tacoma KNWX 1090 1995 KPTR iHeartMedia
KIRO-FM 100.7 1964–1997 KKWF Entercom

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Entercom trades radio stations".
  2. ^ CBS Kicks Off Radio Station Auction - New York Post (retrieved September 22, 2008)
  3. ^ DCRTV.net (accessed August 18, 2009)
  4. ^ "$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.
  5. ^ "Entercom-CBS Merger: Sales, Trades and LMAs". Inside Radio. November 17, 2017. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  6. ^ Jacobson, Adam (August 3, 2018). "Bonneville Pays $141 Million For Entercom 8". Radio & Television Business Report. Retrieved August 3, 2018.
  7. ^ "Here's What's Holding Up Bonneville's Buy Of 8 Entercom Stations". Inside Radio. May 10, 2018. Retrieved August 3, 2018.
  8. ^ "Bonneville Assumes Control Of Utah Jazz-Owned KZNS-AM/FM". Inside Radio. October 1, 2021. Retrieved November 18, 2021.
  9. ^ Larsen, Andy (September 30, 2021). "Tribune columnist Gordon Monson out at The Zone, as KSL takes over management of sports radio station". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved November 18, 2021.
  10. ^ "The Zone Sports Network Announces New Lineup With Some Familiar Faces". KSL Sports. October 19, 2021. Retrieved November 18, 2021.
  11. ^ Pierce, Scott (April 28, 2016). "KUTV's parent buys KJZZ from Millers". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved June 20, 2016.

Further reading[edit]

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