MeredithMay2017

Radio man returns to buy station

Nadon purchases WZEI, WLKZ, WTPL for $2.6M

By THOMAS P. CALDWELL, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — A local broadcaster is returning to his roots by acquiring a local radio station he put on the air, along with two others.

If you listened to Laconia radio station WEMJ in 1981 and 1982, you’re familiar with the voice of the evening host, Dirk Nadon. Later, from 1982 to 1984, Nadon served as afternoon host and staff engineer at WLNH. After leaving the area for work in Boston and elsewhere, he returned to the Lakes Region in 1988 to launch Meredith’s WMRO FM 101.5 with his stepfather, Bill Forbes, and Gary Howard. He remained with the station until 1991.

Now, 26 years later, Nadon, through his company, Lakes Media LLC, is buying back his old station, 101.5 (now a sports station with the call letters WZEI), along with classic rock station WLKZ 104.9 of Wolfeboro and news/talk station WTPL 107.7 of Hillsborough, for a combined $2.6 million, from Great Eastern Radio.

Nadon, a Gilford native who now resides in Laconia and most recently has been employed as director of engineering by Binnie Media, was quoted by Northeast Radio Watch, as saying “excited to return to ownership in New Hampshire radio.” Northeast Radio Watch is a website that reports on media in the northeastern United States.

Nadon declined to say more, saying he could not comment until after the closing.

Jeff Shapiro, who owns Great Eastern Radio, told Northeast Radio Watch that "We weren't looking to sell any radio stations but we were approached by Lakes Media with a transaction that made sense to us. It made it an easier process knowing the stations would stay in local hands. This will allow us to focus on our other clusters in New England and growing our stations to their full potential."

Radio insiders say Nadon’s decision bucks the industry trend, where large corporations have been absorbing the smaller stations, but that does not mean smaller radio stations cannot survive on their own.

Nadon told Northeast Radio Watch he made the deal for the stations in part to honor Forbes, who died in 2004. "He was such a very important person in my life and a damned bear living legend in the Lakes Region area. Everybody who knew that man loved him!"

Transactions such as these usually take 30 to 60 days to be approved, said Harry Kozlowski, a local radio consultant.

"Dirk has a wealth of experience and I'm confident he's going to do some terrific things," said Kozlowski. "He'll be a great owner again."

05 16 Radio Tower Meredith