WICHITA – A popular area radio station spent the early part of the week playing the sounds of silence – the actual ones, and not the Simon and Garfunkel variety. Gone are the sounds of singers like Celine Dion, Chicago, Madonna, and other mainstays of adult contemporary music, giving way to Spanish language programming that started Thursday morning.
Daniel Smith, a former owner of the Belle Plaine licensed station, took over operations this week after purchasing the station back from current owner Shane Prill. According to FCC records, Smith will forgive some $1,363,117 in owner financed debt, plus collect an addition $57,600 in payments from his former buyer as part of the arrangement.
Smith owned the station for a number of years prior to it’s 2013 sale to Prill’s Air Capitol Media Services. The station operated as a Wellington licensed signal at 92.7 FM, before applying for a frequency change to it’s current home and upgrading to a new tower site that allowed for much better coverage over the entire Wichita metropolitan area.
This is the station’s second run as a Spanish language outlet, having operated as “Fiesta 99.7” KANR during Smith’s ownership.
Rewind to 2012, and 99.7 FM was a Spanish language station known as “Fiesta”. Enter longtime Wichita DJ Brett Harris, who was fresh off of an exit from his highly rated morning show at KRBB (B-98 FM), and beginning his new television show on KSCW.
You could also enter the equation the station at 99.7 FM, which was for sale for a hefty $2.1 Million price tag.
Those who listened to Harris during his time on 97.9 FM might recall that one of his frequent contributors in the past was Prill, the longtime financial advisor, who phoned in segments on the program. Shortly after Harris exited what is now iHeartMedia, the rumblings came through that 99.7 FM would be sold to Prill, with Harris as the face of the new station to be known as “Lite FM”. Studios were set up just east of Bradley Fair, and within weeks, Prill and Harris were on the air and in business.
While Harris has a 24 year run at KRBB, his stint at Lite FM would last just under a year. By April 2014, he was no longer with the station, and other staff members would continue without him. Radio veterans like Gayla Crouse, Dan Holiday and station manager Pat Moyer continued to crank out the hits. Later in the year, Harris joined upstart KKGQ 92.3,
backed by local non-profit Envision, where he would reunite with his former co-host Tracy Cassady. Meanwhile over on East 21st, Prill decided he was out of the radio business, and former owner Daniel Smith would buy the station back according to paperwork filed with the FCC.
The Spanish language programming returned to the airwaves Thursday morning, reportedly produced by a group of local Hispanic broadcasters who will operate the station under a “lease management agreement” from Smith. At the time of this writing, there was no confirmation as to whether the station will continue to operate from it’s East Wichita studios on 21st street.
Meanwhile, Prill continues his investment business. Brett Harris is busier than ever, as KKGQ (Q92) continues to see growing ratings success, and his afternoon talk show on KSCW Television continues to flourish.
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