Casino magnate purchases KPTL

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KPTL, Carson City's AM radio station, is under new ownership again.

The Holder Hospitality Group, owned by casino owner Hal Holder, finalized the purchase of the radio station on Wednesday, acquiring it from Modesto, Calif.-based Silverado Broadcasting for an undisclosed amount of money.

Rumors of the sale circulated for weeks while Holder and Silverado were in negotiations. Silverado originally purchased the station, along with KZZF FM, from Moon Broadcasting in July 2000, just a day after Moon bought the stations from local real estate developer Dwight Millard.

Bruce Dewing, president of the Holder Hospitality Group, said the station has suffered trying to cater to the local market with absentee owners, a trend he hopes to change.

"This fits well into our overall plan," Dewing said. "It is a good mix for us. We own an advertising agency, an events promotion agency and the casinos."

Holder purchased Sharkey's Casino in Gardnerville at the beginning of this year, and plans to use radio as a marketing outlet for that casino as well as the Silver Club in Sparks. Both are within the stations 50,000-watt geographic reach during the day, a perfect outlet for promotions, Dewing said.

"We intend to stay with the local Carson City format," he said. "We might tweak it here and there, but we don't anticipate any huge changes."

Although station manager Jim Buckley is no longer with the station, Holder says the handful of full- and part-time staff members will likely remain when the company finally takes the station over after the Federal Communications Commission approval comes through in approximately 60-90 days, Dewing said.

"We want to be active in the community, active with other businesses and active with the casinos," He said. He added that other casinos, even Holders' competitors, will be given the same opportunity as any other advertiser to get on the stations' airwaves.

"We're opening a door in the radio business," he said. "We want to take this on, get our arms around it and make it profitable."

The station has struggled for years to turn a profit, but Dewing said a change from the 1950s and 1960s classic rock format would only complicate the company's business endeavors.

"We wouldn't go Spanish or Christian," he said. "We're in the casino business -- that's the engine for our business -- and we are part of Carson City."

This is not the first foray into radio for Holder, who owned 12 stations in the 1970s and 1980s before turning his attention to gaming.

Holder also owns the El Capitan in Hawthorne, the Sundance in Winnemucca, and is currently purchasing the Model T, also in Winnemucca. Holder Hospitality group employees approximately 1,000.

Before the KPTL deal formulated, Holder had negotiated for a station in the Reno market, but the deal came to an impasse, Dewing said.

"I can't think of any casino owning a radio station, that will be a first," he said.

There is no word on whether locally known shows such as the "Rockin' Rev" Ken Haskins show on Saturday mornings, Guy Rocha's "History for the Lunch Bunch," "Craig (Swope) and Fred (James) in the Morning," or Don Quilici's fishing report will come back to the airwaves.


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