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Valley’s first radio station sold

by Regina Purcell

KGVM 99.1, Carson Valley’s first radio station, has been sold to a Maine businessman experienced in running small- and medium-market stations. It will change hands Feb. 1.

The 3,000-watt station was started by Lloyd Higuera 18 years ago, who sold it for $850,000, according to radioandrecordsonline.com.

Jerry Evans bought the station after he visited the Valley and fell in love with the area.

“It gives the opportunity to move back West,” Evans said, including his wife, Leslie. “We both grew up out here and have family out here. We see a tremendous opportunity with the station.”

Evans grew up in San Joaquin Valley in California, and his wife is from Los Angeles. The couple also lived in San Diego.

Their children are Henry, who is training for the special forces in the U.S. Army at Fort McCall, N.C.; Will, 16, who attends Sierra Lutheran High School; and Virginia, 13, who attends Carson Valley Middle School. The family lives in Genoa and moved from the Bangor, Maine, area in August.

Evans said he expects the station to stay “almost business as usual.” He said there will be some changes.

“We will be upgrading the facilities to increase the power to be able to cover the entire Carson Valley and the lake (Tahoe),” he said.

Evans has owned four other stations in California, Missouri and Maine.

“Winter’s got a little too long in Maine,” he said. “The East (Coast) is a totally different animal. Maine is becoming more and more like France, a socialist republic-type state, and frankly, the winter’s were eight, nine months long.”

Higuera and wife, Caroline, plan to do some traveling, but he said he wouldn’t call it “retirement.”

“I won’t be sitting on my back porch on a rocker,” he said. “We plan to stay here and stay active in the community.”

Higuera bought the station in August 1985. A flood hit Carson Valley in February 1986.

“We jumped right in (with coverage of the tragedy),” he said. “It kind of put KGVM on the map because a lot of people didn’t realize there was a radio station in the Valley.”

The flood in 1997 also put the station in the spotlight in a crisis.

Higuera said he will miss the day-to-day contact with listeners.

“You know how it is here, people always give you feedback,” he said.

He said Evans is a good match for KGVM.

“He is a very experienced broadcaster,” Higuera said. “He will be great for the station. And I know he cares about the community and understands that the radio station is a community station.”