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Good Karma buys Milwaukee stations

Good Karma buys Milwaukee stations


The owner of two Beaver Dam radio stations has bought WTMJ-AM/620 and WKTI-FM/94.5.

Good Karma Brands, the Milwaukee-based radio company that owns six ESPN-affiliated stations, including WAUK (540 AM) in Milwaukee, also owns WBEV-AM/1430 and WXRO-FM/95.3 in Beaver Dam. Craig Karmazin founded Good Karma in 1997 with the purchase of the Beaver Dam stations.

Good Karma announced the deal Friday morning. Radio and music industry website Friday put the sale price at $16 million.

“WBEV and WXRO are where Good Karma Brands started, and where we learned what it means to care for the community in a way that looks after our teammates, listeners, fans and advertising partners,” Karmazin said. “Today’s announcement is exciting because we are able to collaborate and learn from two legacy stations in our home state. We’re excited for our teams and for the future of Good Karma Brands as we embark on this new adventure.”

Over the years, Good Karma acquired ESPN-affiliated broadcast and digital assets in Milwaukee, Madison, Cleveland and West Palm Beach, Florida. Good Karma has since expanded into new industries, including wireless, events and home solutions.

“We’re always fueled by the desire to do things differently and offer customized solutions for fans, partners and consumers,” Karmazin said in a 2013 interview with the Wisconsin State Journal. “The expansion into a wide variety of customized solutions led GKB to form Good Karma Brands in early 2014. Good Karma Brands boasts many different assets — but they are all operated with the same principles learned in Beaver Dam over 15 years ago.”

Good Karma maintains an office in Beaver Dam and devotes a page on its website to its origins in the city, noting that its annual Radiothon has raised more than $15 million for Dodge County charities.

E.W. Scripps Co., which bought WTMJ-AM and WKTI-FM as part of its acquisition of Journal Communications in 2015, announced in January that it would sell all of its radio stations. In June, Scripps sold five radio stations in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to Griffin Communications.

The WTMJ/WTKI sale must be approved by the Federal Communications Commission. Good Karma said it expects the deal to close by the end of the year.

The sale would give Good Karma a bigger presence in sports radio in Milwaukee. WTMJ, which also broadcasts on a translator signal at 103.3 FM, is the flagship station for Green Bay Packers, Milwaukee Brewers and Milwaukee Bucks broadcasts, and airs a variety of news and sports call-in shows.

WTMJ was launched by the owner of the Milwaukee Journal in 1927 and remained locally owned until Scripps bought Journal Communications, including the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, in 2015. Scripps sold the Journal Sentinel to Gannett Co. Inc. a year later.

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