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The company that owns the Loud American Roadhouse in Sturgis has acquired two radio stations put on the market recently as part of the sale of KOTA-TV in Rapid City.

For now, no major programming changes are expected as a result of the purchase of so-called "Ranch Radio" in Sturgis and KKLS in Rapid City, which broadcasts local sports.

The Federal Communications Commission ruled in March that Rushmore Media Company had 60 days to sell two of its six area radio stations as part of an agreement for the sale of KOTA and satellite stations in Lead, Sheridan, Wyoming, and Scottsbluff, Nebraska.

As a result of the agreement, KBHB in Sturgis, known as "Ranch Radio," and KKLS in Rapid City, which broadcasts Post 22 baseball games and South Dakota School of Mines & Technology athletics, were sold to HomeSlice Media Group, according to Marci Burdick, an executive with Schurz Communications, which owns Rushmore Media.

HomeSlice Media was formed around 20 years ago and its partners include Dean Kinney, the current general manager of KBHB.

"Dean and a group of business people made an offer to buy this, and we were happy to keep it in the hands of local ownership," Burdick said Tuesday from the company's headquarters in Mishawaka, Indiana.

Kinney said Tuesday that he has worked for 26 years at KBHB, or the Big 81. Clint Brengle and ranchers Mark Bruch and Mike Bruch, all of Sturgis, are partners in the company that owns the Loud American Roadhouse, a bar and restaurant in Sturgis, known for its steak tips. The entertainment company began by promoting concerts and now does around 500 shows a year, according to Kinney.

No changes are planned for KBHB, but Kinney said the new ownership is studying the format at KKLS although they intend to continue broadcasting School of Mines athletics and Post 22 baseball games. The station also broadcasts what Kinney described as "contemporary adult music."

The radio stations became available after Duhamel Broadcasting Enterprises of Rapid City and Schurz Communications announced in October the sale of the television stations. But before the FCC would approve the deal, it required that Schurz sell two radio stations.

In making the ruling, FCC Video Division Chief Barbara Kreisman cited the agency's rules on cross-ownership, which tries to protect the diversity of "media voices" in a market area.

According to a letter that was sent to attorneys representing the companies, the Rapid City area is the 173rd largest market in the nation and after the sale would have between 10 and 20 media voices, which meant a business could own no more than one television station and four radio stations.

At the time of the sale, what was then known as New Rushmore Radio owned KKMK, KOUT, KFXS, KRCS and KKLS in Rapid City and KBHB in Sturgis.

Schurz changed the name of the division to Rushmore Media Company after the television stations were purchased, said Burdick, who added the sale of the two radio stations is expected to get FCC approval in June.

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Journal reporter Deb Holland contributed to this report. Contact Patrick Butler at 394-8434 or at patrick.butler@rapidcityjournal.com.

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