Monday, September 26, 2016

9.26.16 Bee-otch of the Day: Northern Broadcast

Bee-otch of the Day honors are awarded Monday through Thursday, Bee-otch of the Week is awarded Friday on



Name: Northern Broadcast, Inc.
Age: 35
Occupation: radio station owners
Last Seen: Minot, ND
Bee-otched For: waiting too damn long to kick the bucket


Later today, it will be made official: Northern Broadcast, Inc., the long-time owners of geezer rock WKLT (97.5/98.9), 80s/90s oldies WFCX (94.3/92.5 The Fox FM) and ESPN 106.7/105.5 will be selling their stations in a three-way deal.

Five out of the six stations will be sold to Grayling-based Blarney Stone Broadcasting, owned by Jerry and Sheryl Coyne. BSB already owns rock Q100 and CBS Sports Y101. Because of FCC rules and regulations, one station will be spun off, and it's WSRT 106.7 Gaylord, one of the ESPN stations. The 100,000-watt station - most-famous in its history as legendary top 40 outlet WKPK/106.7 The Peak - will end up in the hands of Catholic broadcaster Baraga Broadcasting.

It's believed that BSB will take over the NBI stations later this week in a Local Marketing Agreement, with the FCC giving its full blessing to the sale in the first quarter of 2017. It's also believed that KLT's format will be adjusted to sound like Q100.

NBI has been in the northern Michigan market since 1983 when they purchased WKLT from its founder, current WLDR/101.9 The Bay owner Roy Henderson. Over the years, NBI grew their portfolio as ownership limits decreased. In 1991, they purchased then-struggling AC station WJML 98.9 and made it into a simulcast of WKLT. They also boosted WKLT's power from 6,000 watts at 97.7 to 32,000 watts at 97.5. They also bought out other stations, such as the former WAIR 92.5/94.3 in the early 90s and 106.7 in 1996.

NBI was owned by the Gokey family of Minot, ND, who own a Pepsi bottler. Apparently, the elder Gokey sold the stations to his son, Langer.

BSB, on the other hand, started in 2012 when Bill Gannon, the owner of several stations in Grayling suffered a stroke and wanted to get out of broadcasting. He sold his three stations to the Coynes. Sheryl worked in sales at CBS Radio in Detroit while Jerry owned a electrical business. Jerry himself never worked in radio, but owning his own station was a wish he had. When the Coynes learned about the Grayling stations being up for sale, they bought them.

A few months after buying out Gannon, BSB switched their satellite-fed country station to a locally-programmed rock station, Q100. Many have lauded the station for its deep, free-form playlist that spans from when rock began in the 1950s to today. Some of the bands Q100 spins aren't even signed yet.

BSB, however, did spin off WGRY-AM 1230 to Baraga since it was not a real money-maker.

It's amazing that in just a few years' time, David is buying Goliath. It's no secret that the Gokeys had been trying to sell NBI for years. It was even rumored that the company was almost sold to Townsquare, who own WGRD here in Grand Rapids along with other stations in Lansing, Kalamazoo and Flint.

But in all, I'm happy that NBI will be no more. Why? Because of the way the company was managed, they gave northern Michigan some of the shittiest radio stations out there. When I was growing up, I was bummed that my cousins got to hear kick-ass rock stations in WKLQ, WRIF and others. Me? Let's just say this: northern Michigan was a shitty place for a teen in the 1990s. Hardly any rock concerts came simply because the fucking old people complained and the only station in town that cared about the 18-34 demographic was The Peak. Of course, NBI killed that station in 2000 because their dream was to have an AC station, WSRT and guess what? IT WAS A DISASTER. It was so bad that their Programming Director sent in fake diaries to Arbitron and got caught. In the end, they simply changed the station's name to You FM. Thankfully, they did flip the station to talk (still retaining the You FM name), but it was a disastrous mix of liberal and conservative talk. They even aired the controversial Dr. Laura show that cost her career when she uttered the N-word many times in one minute. Thankfully, NBI slightly redeemed themselves when they flipped 106.7 and 105.5 Honor to ESPN.

NBI was a company I personally won't miss. Other reasons why they sucked included:
-The fact that they fired popular KLT morning jock Tim Murphy in the 90s only because he blasted Arby's without knowing that they were a sponsor of his
-the fact that they killed WAIR for the unsuccessful country format The Bee that was WTCM's bitch the whole time
-the fact that they promoted airheaded blonde bimbo Terri Ray - who knew nothing about rock as-is - to PD at KLT
-the fact that they hired an internet troll, Tom Devitt to operations manager

So in the end, I hope that the Coynes will fix NBI's wrongs, but who knows? They are anti-corporate radio at its finest. With Black Diamond taking over Northern Star's stations later this Fall, it will be exciting to see what they have in store.

All I'm hoping for is that the Active Rock format in northern Michigan is safe.


Got a Bee-otch to nominate? E-mail us @ All suggestions (except for me) are welcome!

Bee-otch of the Day Archives can be seen on!

Bee-otch of the Day is a production of, Grand Rapids' site for Stern, politics and more!

1 comment:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.