Who Is Wilks?

The company which just announced the purchase of CBS Radio’s Columbus cluster is basically unknown here in Ohio, but we’re getting some of the details about Wilks Broadcast Group filled in by others.

Our colleague Scott Fybush at NorthEast Radio Watch tells us that Jeff Wilks’ father was a principal in the old “Wilks-Schwartz Group”, which once owned a number of stations over that way…in markets like Long Island, Hartford and Springfield.

More recently, a more recent incarnation of Wilks Broadcasting (“Wilks Broadcasting LLC”) apparently owned a group of stations in Des Moines IA about 5 years ago. The company says the current Wilks station group started with the purchase of the Fresno cluster in 2005.

Though there are Internet rumblings of major staff cuts back in 2001 at that Des Moines cluster, perhaps this line on the current Wilks website – about Mr. Wilks – will give Columbus CBS Radio staffers more of a pause thinking about their new owner:

His expertise is in acquiring under-performing radio stations and improving station billings through aggressive marketing and promotion, while consolidating operations to reduce costs.

That doesn’t sound like good news for, say, employees. But we’ll continue to watch how Wilks handles Columbus, which is a much larger market than nearly any of its current – or former – markets…

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