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U.S. Rep. Walden sells radio stations in Columbia Gorge

06:56 AM PST on Thursday, February 1, 2007

Associated Press

Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., said Wednesday he has sold the five radio stations he and his wife own in Hood River and The Dalles, citing ownership demands that conflicted with congressional duties.

AP

Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore.

The stations were sold to Bicoastal Columbia River LLC, which now will own 29 mostly small-town stations in Oregon, Washington and northern California.

Terms were not revealed, and the deal is subject to approval by the Federal Communications Commission. The new owners are to take over Thursday.

Walden said the papers were signed on Tuesday.

He said he and his wife have owned stations for nearly two decades and that his father started in the business in the area in 1947.

"We love the business and we love the community. We have a great staff," said Walden, Oregon's lone Republican in the House of Representatives. He has represented Oregon's 2nd Congressional District, mostly east of the Cascades, since 1998.

"But with the time commitment in Congress it was difficult to fulfill both those obligations," he said.

"It really became more about that stress in time. In recent years we'd be called in nights and weekends when there was a crisis at some transmitter site."

He described the new owners' stations as community broadcasters, "big believers in local news and local sports."

In 1978 Walden and his wife, Mylene, bought and KIHR and KCGB-FM from his father. They bought KACI-AM and KACI-FM from Burns and Joan Nugent in 1998, and later bought KMSW in The Dalles.

His father, who bought KIHR in Hood River in 1967, had been in broadcasting in the area since 1947.

Walden said the new owners would keep the same management and staff.

He said Bicoastal has similar management philosophies.

"We became aware of them and watched what they did," Walden said. "They're in markets similar to our size, and they have a philosophy of serving the community. It just seemed to be a good fit."