Another local company selling to its employees, joins the growing list

Another local company selling to its employees, joins the growing list

In 1996, Wendell and Lydia Starke applied to do business in Idaho. The couple filled out a form and wrote a check to the Idaho Secretary of State to launch FM 104.7 Co. That same year, they received an FCC license for Twin Falls radio station.

Now, 26 years later, the Starks family will sell Their radio property in Idaho – to their employees.

The epic of the Iliad

FM 104.7 Co. It became FM Idaho just a month after its initial filing in 1996. Along the way, the Starkes, who live in Atlanta, Georgia, watched the twists and turns that could lead to an entire radio news blog. FM Idaho eventually became the Iliad Media Group, which owns over a dozen radio brands across Boise and Twin Falls.

Wendell Starke, who grew up in Seal, Alabama, became president of large investment firm Invesco. But he and Lydia got involved in investing in radio, starting with the first group of stations in Twin Falls. that they He sold the company for $10 million In 2000 for the Oregon group, who Also bought Boys Hawks. But the hopes of the Oregon group of radio stations and the baseball team were unsuccessful, and the Starks eventually regained the stations two years later.

In the past two decades or so, the stations have gone by many names, including FM Idaho, Tester Broadcast Group, Local Owned Radio, and Impact Radio – before landing the Iliad name in the last decade.

CEO Daryl Calton joined the company in 2008 and began reworking station groups, first in Boise and then in Twin Falls. In Boise, a small group of stations with modest ratings have grown into eight variants, including market-leading stations 101.9 The Bull, 96.1 Bob FM and My 102.7.

Locally owned by employees

Radio groups, like most media, are not usually locally owned. There are no owners of the other three major Boise radio stations here, nor the owners of commercial television stations, local newspapers, or cable companies. (Another Twin Falls radio group, Lee Family Broadcasting, is also locally owned.) But Eliade’s 46 employees will own and control the company.

“One of the biggest concerns I had about ownership and ownership of the company was not the annual successes, but the decade-long success,” Calton said. “Many independent business owners struggle with what to do about the time march in terms of property planning and business. We are very fortunate to have an owner who wants to recognize the long-term efforts of our employees and wants to put the future of the business in our own hands. The ESOP Business Transition Tool is exactly what We all need it.”

Eliade joins a growing list of Idaho companies with ESOP ownership structures. The most famous of these are Winco Foods with recent additions such as Drake Cooper, Commercial Tire, Tates Rents, and Bardenay.

An ESOP essentially functions as a retirement plan that uses “revenue from the business to fuel employees” — or more accurately, owners — retirement treasuries.

“Employee ownership will allow us to live our values ​​of putting people first, leading with creativity, and acting with integrity,” Calton said. “The work we do every day will have a deeper purpose and greater impact on our communities than ever before.”

Iliad said it only joins three other radio groups across the country under staff ownership.

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