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Wendy Reuer, Published May 02 2013

Ingstad’s buyer was aware of radio station swap plans

FARGO – When Midwest Communications owner Duke Wright bought the six stations here owned by longtime Fargo radio magnate Jim Ingstad, Wright knew Ingstad would soon be a competitor.

Wright told The Forum on Thursday that he was well aware of Ingstad’s plans to turn around and buy the metro area’s other six-station cluster after sales of both stations were finalized within hours of each other late Tuesday night and Wednesday.

“He asked us if it would be OK. There isn’t any problem with it,” Wright said. “We’ve been in the business a long, long time, and we’ve been in some heavy competition. We like competition as long as it’s good.”

Ingstad sold his Radio Fargo-Moorhead cluster, which included KFGO 790 AM, to Wright for $25 million. Hours later, a separate sale of 30 stations owned by Triad Broadcasting in five different markets, including six Fargo stations, was completed with L&L Broadcasting, the Portland, Ore.,-based L&L said in a news release.

Later on Wednesday, L&L announced it would sell its six newly purchased Fargo stations to Ingstad for

$9.5 million. Ingstad took immediate control of the former Triad stations through a local marketing agreement, but the sale is pending federal approval, L&L said in the release.

Attempts to reach Ingstad and officials at L&L were unsuccessful.

Wright said Thursday there are no plans for the two clusters – both with headquarters on 25th Street South – to join forces. He said the 12 stations, about three-quarters of Fargo’s commercial radio stations, will be competing.

“There’s always competition, might as well be someone you know,” Wright said.

Wright – whose wife, Peggy, is a Lisbon native – said he has long wanted to join the metro radio market. Wright said the deal to buy the Radio Fargo-Moorhead stations began last year pending federal approval, but along the way, Ingstad developed second thoughts about selling his hometown stations.

Ingstad is the son of Bob Ingstad Sr., the founder of KOVC-AM in Valley City. His family owns many stations in North Dakota and across the Midwest.

Wright said the announcement of Ingstad’s L&L deal would have been made sooner, but it wasn’t final until Wednesday.

Wright said no staff changes are expected, with the exception of Radio Fargo-Moorhead’s former chief operation officer, Nancy Odney, who will follow Ingstad.

In 2007, Ingstad hired Odney away from Triad. Triad later sued Odney in a case settled in July 2008.

Ingstad will now control stations that were owned by Triad Broadcasting: KQWB 1660 AM (True Oldies); KPFK 107.9 FM (The Fox); KLTA 105.1 FM; KVOX 99.9 FM (Froggy); KBMW 1450 AM; and KQWB 98.7 FM (Q98).

Midwest Communications now owns: KFGO 790 AM; KVOX 740 AM (The Fan); WDAY 93.7 FM (Y94); KBVB 95.1 FM (Bob 95); KRWK 101.9 FM (Talk FM); and KMJO 104.7 FM (Popster FM).

Readers can reach Forum reporter Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530