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Sale of KFNS appears to be close

kfns sale 2017.J-23396662

Randy Markel.

Randy Markel pulled KFNS out of bankruptcy six years ago when he returned the once-prominent all-sports radio station to the local airwaves.

Before Markel came to the rescue, 590 AM had fallen into chaos of epic proportions, culminating with a fistfight at the station between a broadcaster and the man running the operation, sending one to a hospital and the other to jail. The wild saga included a format change to “guy talk” and the rebranding of KFNS as “590 The Man,” as well as sister station KXFN (1380 AM) moving from sports to female-oriented programming and calling itself “1380 The Woman.”

KFNS finally went off the air in late 2014 before Markel, who previously owned two area Chuck’s Boots stores and never had been in the media business, brought it back to life. He has explored selling it numerous times since, though a deal never was completed. But he says now that an agreement he has with the Zobrist Media LLC group will end end his reign. In fact, Dave Zobrist has been running the operation for months and Markel said the only remaining step to complete the sale is for the Federal Communications Commission to approve the transaction.

Markel said that paperwork recently was filed, and he is hoping for the matter to be finalized by the end of the year. Zobrist, who has been with the station in a behind-the-scenes capacity for several years, did not responded to requests for comment.

Markel said this deal is much more advanced than any others he has negotiated — including ones with a group assembled by Tim McKernan, lead cast member of “The Morning After” show on the station, and a couple Metro East businessmen.

”Nobody else came even close to this,” Markel said, adding that “the right person is buying the station. (Zobrist) will help it reach its potential.”

He would not reveal the selling price, though at one point it was believed he was seeking about $500,000.

”I got what I wanted,” he said of the current bid.

Markel said now that the sale is close, “it’s kind of bittersweet. I’ve enjoyed it, I’ve had more fun in (six years) in radio than I did in 20 years running Chuck’s Boots.

”I’ve met some of the best people I’ve ever come across,” in the radio business, he added. “And some not so good! But overall, it has been great.”

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