A new top dog has appeared in the North Platte radio scene Thursday with the purchase of Rock 100 FM and Wild Country 93.5 FM by the company that owns Husker Radio. The Armada company bought the two FM stations that are headquarted downtown at Fourth and Dewey. Armada already owns the three Husker Radio stations in North Platte -- KX 104 FM, The Hawk 98.5 FM and Newstalk Radio KODY 1240 AM.
"With the addition of two FMs to our cluster in North Platte, we now have five stations in the market," Armada Media President and CEO Chris Bernier said, "and gives us the dominant position we’ve been striving for."
Armada is a seven-year-old Wisconsin-based corporation founded in 2006 that operates in small, unrated markets. It now owns 37 radio stations in seven states in the Midwest. Three of those are in McCook -- Kicks 96, 103.9 The Hawk, and The Big Talker, KBRL 1300 AM.
A marketing arrangement began immediately in North Platte, the company said.
In the deal, Armada also bought six stations in the Scottsbluff area from the parent company, Hometown Family Radio of Grand Island. Armada traded two stations in Holdrege to Hometown Family Radio -- KMTY-FM and KUVR-AM, according to the announcement of the deal.
Bernier said the Armada company believes there is tremendous growth potential in the Scottsbluff market.
The financial terms of the deal were not announced.
In 2007, Armada bought two radio stations in McCook and two in Holdrege for a reported $4.5 million.
One founder of Armada is Tommy Thompson, the former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services and before that, the governor of Wisconsin.
Armada has had its share of financial struggles. In 2010, Wells Fargo Capital Finance, Inc. filed suit, saying Armada had defaulted on its $16.2 million loan. Thompson said at the time that he thought the debt could be restructured. Armada's finances are not publicly available.
According to an April 24 post on the website, www.radiodiscussions.com., some of the Armada founders "will see their stake in the company reduced while a debt-for-equity deal will give the company more breathing room."