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KGEZ

KGEZ
City of license Kalispell, Montana
Branding KGEZ 600 AM
Slogan Northwest Montana's Original Radio Station
Frequency 600 kHz
First air date 1927
Format Full service
Power 5,000 watts (day)
1,000 watts (night)
Class B
Facility ID 60575
Transmitter coordinates

48°09′40″N 114°16′51″W / 48.16111°N 114.28083°W / 48.16111; -114.28083{{#coordinates:48|09|40|N|114|16|51|W| | |name=

}}
Owner Todd Gardner
(Flathead Broadcasting, LLC)
Website kgez.com

KGEZ (600 AM) is an American broadcast radio station licensed to Kalispell, Montana and serving the Flathead region of western Montana. KGEZ is owned and operated by Todd Gardner and his company, Flathead Broadcasting.

History

File:KGEZlogo.jpg
Former branding

KGEZ is Montana's second oldest station, and the oldest in the Flathead. It first signed on in 1927.[1] The station was assigned these call letters by the Federal Communications Commission.[2]

From 2000 to 2009, it was owned by conservative activist John Stokes, and aired a News/Talk format under the moniker "Z-600, The Edge."[3] Its flagship program was a conservative-oriented talk show hosted by Stokes.

Seizure

On September 24, 2009; KGEZ went silent after being seized by the United States Bankruptcy Court for Montana. In the spring of 2008, John Stokes was sued by Todd and Davar Gardner, who claimed Stokes had slandered them on his show in 2007. Stokes lost, and faced having to pay $3.8 million in damages, an amount that he claimed would have forced him out of business. To avoid paying, he filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. In April 2009, the Office of the U.S. Trustee asked that the filing be converted to a Chapter 7, claiming that Stokes hadn't disclosed all of his assets and debts. Stokes responded with a request to withdraw the filing. On September 21, bankruptcy judge Ralph Kirscher issued an order denying Stokes' request and granting the government's request to switch to a Chapter 7.[4][5]

In his ruling, Kirscher said Stokes had failed to disclose "literally millions of dollars" in assets and had not paid taxes in several years. Stokes was in the midst of his show when federal marshals and Flathead County sheriff's deputies arrived to seize the station; he simply thanked his listeners and signed off. Stokes himself said he'd been losing $40,000 per month operating the station.[6]

Station Status

In July 2010, a local bankruptcy judge awarded a partial settlement to the Gardners in which they acquired KGEZ's assets (license, broadcasting facilities, and studio property) for $875,000 in cash. That sum is part of deal reducing the amount the Gardners were owed by Stokes to $1.5 million. [5]

In October 2010, John Stokes filed an appeal, challenging the settlement that transferred KGEZ radio station assets to Todd and Davar Gardner in July. The appeal, filed in U.S. District Court, states that the bankruptcy court erred when it approved the settlement.

As of October 2010, KGEZ is back in business. A "Resumption of Operations" notice was filed with the FCC, and signed September 8, 2010. The files show Todd Gardner as owner via Flathead Broadcasting, LLC.

Shortly after the Gardners took over ownership of the station, John Hendricks took charge of KGEZ's programming and operations. He recruited longtime Flathead Valley broadcaster George Ostrom for on-air commentary. It returned to the air in late January 2011 with a marathon of 1950s and 1960s rock hits. Regular programming resumed on February 8, 2011. The station originally oldies format, but Hendricks intended to add a greater variety of programming.[1] Currently, the station airs a full service format consisting of almost entirely locally-originated programming, a rarity for stations in a market this small.

John Stokes is currently streaming a radio show on the Internet. He still maintains the site he originally designed for the station.

References

External links