Bennett Broadcasting near bankrupcy

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Bennett Broadcasting near bankrupcy

Postby skyvalleyradio » Sat Dec 07, 2013 9:58 am

Thanks to Bongwater on another thread for breaking this sad piece of news. He beat me to it. As a regular "Z-Twins" listener to all 3 stations, I clicked on the 'Listen' page and got redirected to the same page he posted:

http://savekriz.com/

On that page are listen links for all 3 feeds. Bennett Broadcasting has had all 3 stations plus KBMS 1480 Vancouver/Portland for sale for some time with no interested buyers. These stations have been serving Seattle's African-American listeners and fans of black music genres since the mid-80's when Chris Bennett bought KRIZ 1420. Aside from a depressed economy, existence on the AM band as music stations is probably the culprit. Had the best of all 3 stations & formats been offered on a single FM stick my guess is that "Z-Twins" would have many more listeners, likely more ad revenue, and most important - survival. I'm guessing that if a buyer had come along for even 1 or 2 of the signals/licenses, this might have been enough to keep the bank at arm's length.

If these stations go silent, it will be the first time in Seattle since 1962 that there has been NO voice/music outlet for the African-Am community. The original KZAM 92.5 signed that year as Seattle's first FM-only outlet & owner Larry Braxton hired a crack team of DJs to offer soul, jazz & gospel music to the Sea-Tac region. On weekends, the station was staffed by Seattle high school "DJ wannabes" usually with success. Just as KZAM succumbed to financial demise and was bought out in the mid-60's, suburban daytimer KYAC 1460 Kirkland switched from MOR to a black/urban format with great success throughout the late 60's and 1970's in spite of it's turbulent history. KYAC's demise in the early 80's eventually morphed into KKFX "K-Fox 1250" which lasted until 1998, then sold to Radio Disney. Bennett's KRIZ 1420 then later KZIZ 1560 & expanded-band KYIZ 1620 competed head-to-head with K-Fox actually offering the luxury of TWO black/urban stations in the market during the late 80's and 1990's. Statistics still show approx 6% of the Seattle market is African-American so one would hope a successful black/urban broadcaster could make a go of it. Apparently not. Sadly, it appears there's little 'wiggle room' for Bennetts unless listeners can raise the amount of capital to pay off loans. That leaves no money to purchase an overpriced/over-valued Seattle FM to achieve some profits - a move I think is badly needed.

One of the most disappointed casualties of this demise will be long-time morning man/PD/salesman Frank Barrow, who deserves special mention. Frank has been in urban radio since joining KYAC in the late 60's as a young DJ. He worked for that station throughout it's life span and at various times took on MD and PD duties at both the AM and during it's short existence - FM 96.5, which blasted KYAC from Courtenay to Portland. I can't remember whether Frank ever worked at K-Fox but he did join the Bennett's KRIZ, once launched as a black station. Should insolvency occur, it will be a sad day for Frank the last time he opens the front door for business at 2600 S Jackson. I too am sending a small donation to try and help keep the "Z-Twins" trio alive.
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