Sunday, September 23, 2007
KSCO-AM FOR SALE in Santa Cruz
Michael Zwerling, one of the last independent radio station owners, announced that he's selling talk station KSCO-AM (1080) and oldies rocker KOMY-AM (1340). He hasn't set a price and says he would prefer local owners to buy the duo.
I talked with Zwerling, 55, Thursday at a lunch honoring former radio and TV owner Jim Gabbert, and he said he's often toyed with selling his 10,000 watt stations, broadcast from three towers in Santa Cruz by the beach near 26th street.
He was frustrated with radio, saying it wasn't producing enough revenue and he was working too hard. He's been making most of his money from multilevel marketing of vitamins and health products that he started after broadcasting Joel Wallach's supplement show, "Dead Doctors Don't Lie."
"That's what's been keeping me going," he said.
A real estate investor who appeared on KSCO as a high school student, he bought the station 17 years ago for $600,000. He had been fired for making a fart noise on the air, and promised someday to own the station.
He bought KOMY a decade ago and has experimented with a number of formats, including Air America, which he dropped, claiming he couldn't get advertisers to sponsor it in one of the most liberal markets in the country.
Zwerling, a Santa Cruz native, has been living in Point Richmond. His mother, Kay, who does extremely conservative opinion pieces and has a strong voice in running the stations, has been in ill-health.