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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014

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In Movies & TV Commentary

Oldies WTKM-AM is one of two Hartford stations being acquired by Dave and Connie Stout.

OnMedia: Radio at ground level in Hartford


Dave Stout has been facing the same question for the past few days now, since word came that the company owned by him and his wife, Connie Stout, had bought WTKM-FM (104.9) and WTKM-AM (1540) up in Hartford.

"That seems to be the burning question with everybody," Stout tells me. "We just really haven't formulated any plans yet."

But it sounds like he has some ideas, and they shouldn't worry listeners to the pair of stations fearful of big changes.

"Boy, I tell you, Scott has really created a combo of two stations out there. "We'd be fools to go in there and start making major changes."

Scott is Scott Lopas, technically still the current owner, who built an FM station based on local programming. The AM station, known as "Cruisin' 1540," plays a programmed oldies format.

But change of any kind won't come for months, as Federal Communications Commission approval is necessary to complete the sale.

Stout hopes that by August, he'll meet with staff, and will talk with listeners and advertisers about the strengths at weaknesses at WTKM. I could take until early fall until the transition is complete.

It's clear the 53-year-old radio veteran has already studied his new operation, and he has strong views about community radio on the WTKM-FM model. It's a far different way of running radio than its counterparts in nearby Milwaukee.

"We just believe in programming a radio station for listeners," he says. "Focus on those listeners, and you can deliver those listeners to advertisers."

For Hartford's radio market, Stout knows, "You gotta do high school sports, you gotta do local news and information, you gotta have talk shows."

And when he says talk shows, he doesn't mean the confrontational talk radio style.

"The main thing, is not mean, not yelling and not mean-spirited," he says, pointing to Ron Krauss' daily open line program.

"He talks to the listener," says Stout.

The polka side of the station seems secure. While WTKM has an image as a polka station, the key hours of the day are focused on local programming.

While Dave Stout's focus is the programming side of the radio business, Connie Stout's role is the advertising – which makes commercial radio possible.

She says, "I'll make the money and you can spend it."

The pair – the two met in Milwaukee radio back in the late 1980s – has worked closely together over the years. Back in 1986, they were both there for the launch of WKLH-FM (96.5). She ran the sales office and he was on the air under the name Dave Dunkin.

They sold their previous chain of out-of-state stations back in 2007 and have been shopping around for something local, before targeting the WTKMs.

On TV: ABC says it will give over two hours of Sunday night prime-time real estate on July 10 to Diane Sawyer's sit-down with Jaycee Dugard, held captive by a California couple for 18 years.

  • Milwaukee "Bridezilla" participant Crystal was filming her bachelorette party last week at La Perla in Walker's Point.
  • James Spader is said to be in talks to join "The Office," replacing Kathy Bates as head of Dunder Miflin, since Bates has to concentrate on "Harry's Law."
  • Broadcasting & Cable reports that last week's premiere of the Elijah Wood comedy "Wilfred," brought in more than 2.5 million viewers to FX, the biggest comedy premiere ever for the cable channel.

The guy does it all: Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert celebrated a week of music with his comedy last week with the release of his new single, available on iTunes. "Charlene II (I'm Over You)," is the follow-up to "Charlene," about his stalkerish quest for a woman named, of course, Charlene.

Here's the performance from his show:

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