Farewell, KLBB

We bid adieu to another vanishing species: the locally-owned and operated small-market AM radio station.

KLBB in Stillwater is giving up and turning off the signal, Mary Divine at the Pioneer Press reports.

It was a classic radio station, the kind that people in the radio business cut their teeth on, back when people in the radio business came from small radio stations.

KLBB broadcast local church services, Stillwater High School football games, took requests and dedications and couldn’t make it with a hyper-local format in a world where people don’t much care about locality that much anymore.

When it first put up a broadcast tower in a field in Stillwater, it was still a rural area. Now it’s surrounding by houses and businesses and property like that is worth a fortune. So the owner is selling the land to a company that’ll put up senior housing, ironic since the station’s programming is aimed at an older demographic.

“If the property is worth this much, and we can’t get that much for the station, then it’s a pretty easy decision,” said Dan Smith, the owner and general manager of the station. “We’ve done OK. I’ve got a great staff, but when I add it up on a calculator, and I look at my options, it’s just a no-brainer right now.”

The station will die at the end of the month. It is survived by an industry where nearly every radio station sounds like every other radio station in cities that are pretty much like every other city.