Radio First

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Liggett Communications, LLC
Limited liability company
Industry Radio broadcasting
Founded 2000
Headquarters Port Huron, Michigan
Services Digital media, radio
Owner Robert Liggett

Radio First (Liggett Communications) is a privately held radio broadcasting company in Michigan owned by Robert G. Liggett Junior. Liggett Communications is headquartered in Port Huron where it owns five radio stations licensed to St. Clair and Sanilac Counties. These five stations operate under the brand name of "Radio First" where they serve listeners in the Thumb area of Michigan and Southwestern Ontario.

History[edit]

Liggett Broadcasting (1970-2000)[edit]

The predecessor to the current company was called Liggett Broadcasting and was founded by Robert Liggett Jr. in 1971. His first station was WFMK in the Lansing, Michigan market. He then added more stations in Lansing, as well as the Grand Rapids, Flint, and Saginaw/Bay City Markets.[1] Liggett Broadcasting at its peak operated radio stations in Michigan, New York, Minnesota, South Carolina, Ohio, and California.[2] Liggett's stations were sold to Citadel Broadcasting in 2000, with Liggett becoming a member of Citadel's board of directors.[3]

In 2000, Ligget became the owner of Big Boy Restaurants, headquartered in Warren, Michigan.

Liggett Communications (1999-Present)[edit]

In 1999, Bob Liggett announced he would purchase WHLS 1450 and WSAQ 107.1 in Port Huron from the estate of former owner John Wismer. The new company would be called Liggett Communications. Wismer had owned the stations since WHLS went on the air in 1938 until he died in 1999. WSAQ and WHLS were purchased by Liggett for $3.2 million. The new Liggett Communications also entered into an agreement to purchase Hanson Communications, Wismer's crosstown competitor and licensee of WPHM, WBTI, and WHYT (now WHLX). Owner Lee Hanson sold those stations to Liggett for $2.24 million.[4] Lee Hanson died in 2015, his son Eric, owns and operates Hanson Pro Music located next to the former WPHM studios on Military Street.[5] However, Liggett was unsuccessful in buying standalone commercial station WGRT, which remains the only commercial station licensed to St. Clair County not owned by Liggett.

By the end of 2000, Liggett received all necessary FCC approvals to buy both Hanson Communications and Wismer Broadcasting. All five stations became a part of Liggett's new company. For about a year the Hanson stations continued to use their old studio at 2379 Military Street, which is now is home to a Coldwel Banker office and Hanson's Pro Music. Wismer's facilities at 808 Huron Avenue were expanded and now house the studios and offices for all five stations. 1380 WPHM, 96.9 WBTI, 107.1 WSAQ, 1590 WHLX, and 1450 WHLS now operate under the collective brand name of Radio First.

Community Involvement[edit]

Radio First sponsors an annual local Bridal Show and Home Expo Show held at McMorran Place. The stations also support many local events, including the March of Dimes "Jail and Bail", the Child Abuse and Neglect Council's "Roof Sit", and Port Huron Police Department's CAPTURE witness tip-line.[6]

Current Radio stations[edit]

Former Radio Stations[edit]

Lansing/East Lansing[edit]

Saginaw/Bay City/Midland[edit]

Flint[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]