Tim McKernan may be on the verge of gaining sole operating control of 590 The Fan, KFNS according to STL Today. The host of The Morning After currently has a 25% stake in the radio station, but majority owner Randy Markel has opened talks with McKernan to give him an opportunity to buy him out and take over as the station’s primary owner.
Markel purchased KFNS in 2015 after the radio station went bankrupt. He not only returned the radio station to the airwaves, but also invested in upgrading the towers which transmit the station’s signal.
One of the conditions in the agreement between the two men was that McKernan would receive $100,000 if the station was sold to another party. He was also given first right of refusal if Markel received any outside offers.
Although he isn’t exploring outside investors, Markel said his initial goal was to sell to McKernan in the next 4-5 years. But with other business interests requiring his focus, he’s decided there’s no better time than the present to explore a potential sale.
“I thought, ‘Why not sell now?’ Markel told STL Today. “I will make a cool half a million dollars-plus in a (little over) a year. I’ve got $2 million in it, I want a half-million profit. That’s what I deserve.”
In addition to being the majority owner of KFNS, Markel also owns Chuck’s Boots stores throughout the St. Louis area, and he’s building a youth baseball complex at the Lake of the Ozarks which will have nine fields and is expected to draw teams from all over the country. Former St. Louis sports radio hosts Bob Ramsey and Jeff Vernetti are overseeing that project for Markel.
“I had to make a decision — do I want to go all-in with the radio station or all-in with the ballparks? I couldn’t do both unless I sold Chuck’s Boots, but that still is in the works and could take some time” said Markel. “I thought about it, the radio station has the potential to be great, and in Tim’s hands. That’s what he’s always wanted (to own his own sports station). I said, ‘You come up with 1½ million (dollars), I will finance the other million at 6 percent, over 1-3 years, at interest only.”
The only question now is how long will it take the two sides to complete a deal. Markel is optimistic of finalizing an agreement quickly, whereas McKernan is taking a more cautious approach. Let the negotiations begin.