Rocking M Media circles which stations it wants to auction off in the bankruptcy restructuring. – On the radio | Vette Leader

Rocking M Media is putting up for auction a dozen full-time power plants and a translator, including its Wichita stations, as part of its bankruptcy reorganization. The move is intended to raise enough funds for the company, founded by Monte and Doris Miller in 2007, to continue, albeit with a focus on smaller markets in Kansas.

US Bankruptcy Court Judge Dale Somers has approved the plan, which obliges Greg Guy, managing director of Patrick Communications, to sell more than half of the 22 stations currently owned by Rocking M. The stations likely to receive the highest bids are in Wichita, KS where Rocking M sells KWME (92.7), KIBB (97.1) and KVWF (100.5). All three stations are currently off the air.

At the Salina-Manhattan, KS market, Rocking M sells CHR “92.7 The New Zoo” KZUH and Rock sells “95.5 The Rock” KVOB.

In the Great Bend-Hays, KS area, it also sells “The Patriot 107.9” KZRS, KSOB, and KNNS.

Also for sale are classic hits KSMM Liberal, KS (1470); classic country “The Mighty 1290” KMMM Pratt, KS; the silent KKLE Winfield, KS; and the silent KLEY Wellington, KS and his companion translator, the Wellington, KS licensed K262CQ at 100.3 FM.

A Site created by Patrick Communications for sale says all bids are due by 5pm CT on September 27th. And offers must be approved by Judge Somers as well as the Federal Communications Commission.

If the stations for sale find buyers, Rocking M would have 10 stations including some in the Dodge City, KS area as well as several smaller cities in the state.

However, the sales process will be launched in a radio market that has been inconsistent in recent years. Recent rumors of an economic downturn could complicate matters further. Unless all 12 stations are sold, Rocking M would have a few options. It could bring in enough money on sale for the Kansas banks it owes to offer credit to take over a station and keep it until a buyer is found. Rocking M may also have some of its other ten stations up for sale. Only as a last resort would it have to proceed to Chapter 7 liquidation.

Growth exceeds sales

Rocking M’s roots stretch back to 2007 when Doris and Monte Miller bought several stations from NRG Media. But the couple soon encountered higher-than-expected operating costs as they modernized the small stations in rural central and western Kansas. In 2014, they brought their son Christopher Miller on board as the company’s president and one-third owner. Under his leadership, Rocking M began a rapid expansion effort when it acquired channels from Alpha Media and Connoisseur Communications, among others.

Rocking M Media attempted to raise money from outside investors to meet its growing expenses, but those efforts failed with only two takers and proceeds that totaled less than the legal fees associated with the offering of the shares.

Rocking M then ended up in a series of costly lawsuits. One involved plans by Christopher Miller’s Soundwind Broadcasting to buy stations from Ingstad Broadcasting. The lawsuit ended with a $20,000 settlement paid by Rocking M. Then there was Rocking M Media engaged in litigation with Envision Broadcast Network on Rocking M Media’s 2017 purchase agreement for KKGQ Wichita (92.3), which ended in a $1.2 million judgment against the company. It also has a pending case from Allied Media Partners over Rocking M’s proposed purchase of its Wichita stations, which is set to go to court, as well as several other lawsuits against Rocking M for non-payment of rent, program fees, royalties and copyright infringement. Then COVID struck and only made things worse.

changes in management

The Millers removed their son Christopher from management in 2019 after saying he “refuses to make any changes needed to prevent Rocking M Media from collapsing”. Their other son, Quinn, was promoted from his marketing job to run Rocking M while mother and father Doris and Monte worked to find a buyer for some of the assets.

They also began using their own personal fortune to keep the company afloat. Last fall, to cut costs, Rocking M sold its Great Bend, KS office building and moved operations for “The Patriot” KZRS to a home office, thanks to FCC rule changes relaxing main studio rules. But it fell short.

Rockin’ M-Media sought Chapter 11 protection in March when it told the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Kanas City that it had nearly $8.5 million in outstanding debt and less than $1 million in assets. In court filings, Rocking M said it believes the sale of the “unprofitable” stations will allow it to pay all of the company’s obligations “over time.”

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