Radio Ink Magazine, a trade publication for the radio industry, reached out to Melissa Herrboldt, owner of KXLG radio, to find out how she went from receiving and helping with promotions to the local owner of the station. KXLG radio.
A core value of Melissa’s mission is to keep KXLG truly local and to honor former owner Bob Faehn’s vision for community engagement and a family-friendly culture.
Below is the article “Keeping the Legacy Live and Local Alive” from Radio Ink Magazine.
In September 2019, Bob Faehn, owner of KXLG-FM (Watertown, SD), was diagnosed with cancer. Last month he passed away. Faehn launched the station in 2009 and was a big fan of live and local. One of its first recruits, who like many radio newbies did everything in the building industry, was Melissa Herrboldt, who has owned the station since last month.
We reached out to Melissa to ask how she went from receiving and helping with promotions to owning the radio station. As you will discover, Bob Faehn has a lot to do with his homeownership.
Radio Ink: Tell us about the station.
Mélissa Herrboldt: KXLG was built on the concept of “Live and Local”. Bob handpicked his team and created a culture that was a family atmosphere where being a real team really meant something. Everyone participated. We were “seasoned” staff, except for myself. Our advertisers had over 100 years of experience when we started and the sales experience matched that. He had a team that knew how to get the job done. Bob’s philosophy was to hire good people and go out of their way. Our mission statement says it best. KXLG’s mission is to be an admired and involved part of our communities, while providing important information and entertainment in an upbeat, honest and friendly manner that maximizes the success of our advertisers. Core values: honesty, integrity, expertise and attitude.
Radio Ink: What do you think the station means to the community?
Mélissa Herrboldt: Bob started KXLG knowing the importance of a local community. KXLG was created to serve the communities it would reach. Bob Faehn was a household name in our communities and across the state. So people knew that if Bob was part of it, it would be a success. I remember early in our adventures at KXLG we had a client who had a little girl who needed hearing aids and for some reason the family couldn’t afford them. Before you knew it, KXLG listeners had raised $ 6,000 within hours for the little girl so she could get hearing aids. We asked and our listeners responded.
Radio Ink: How important is live and local?
Mélissa Herrboldt: As important as oxygen is to us. When you say “live” you get live with KXLG. We have live advertisers from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. When storms come, we cover them. Local events we are here. We take care of our listeners, communities and customers. It is said that local businesses are the backbone of the community. It’s true! KXLG is a local business and we understand the importance of “local”. We created a program to promote local businesses and the importance of supporting them! This is what makes KXLG who we are. KXLG is truly “Live and Local”!
Radio Ink: What happened to Mr. Faehn?
Mélissa Herrboldt: Bob was diagnosed with cancer in September 2019. Bob was more than a boss, he was my mentor and an incredibly smart and patient man who really helped me grow in the business. He sent me on a trip to learn more about the world of radio. He invested in me. I remember when he called me from the emergency room before I was flown to the Mayo Clinic in September and asked me to do him a favor. He didn’t know what was going to happen to him. I immediately knew how much Bob meant to me. And if something happened to him, I wanted him to know that I cared for him. So I said it, I told Bob that I wanted him to know how much I appreciated and loved him. He replied “I love you too Melissa”. It was from that moment that our relationship deepened and I knew that Bob was no longer just my boss. He was a friend and a father figure. I never imagined meeting someone like Bob who would have such an impact on my life and that of my family. We wouldn’t have had this opportunity to buy this radio station if I hadn’t met Bob Faehn.
Radio Ink: Did you know he wanted you to take over the station when he passed away?
Mélissa Herrboldt: Yes! Bob told me to buy the station once a year starting in 2017. He never insisted on the problem. He always said he wanted him to go to someone to take care of him. Someone who wouldn’t screw him up. I was too hot to do it because we are a very profitable station and I always thought we were just buying it and I knew that was not an option. Although when he decided to retire on February 2, I knew that if my husband and I didn’t buy it, someone else would. Our people and what Bob created did not deserve to be changed. Before he retired I sat down with him and said ok, how are we going to buy this station. I’m ready to talk! Then Bob, Susie, Jeremy and I had dinner together to discuss how we could buy KXLG. Jeremy and I visited and before I knew it we agreed this was a great opportunity for us. Let’s do this! We started looking for investors. Our first investor that we asked was Susie. It fit perfectly. I also always prayed that if this were to be the case, everything would work out and our investors would come to us, we would not have to go to them. And that’s exactly how it happened. Well they got together because they knew how much KXLG meant to Bob. They also knew about his state of health. In no time, we had the 3 investors we needed to make our dream of buying KXLG come true. Bob’s legacy would live on!
Radio Ink: How does it feel to be an owner?
Mélissa Herrboldt: I do not know if it has already sunk. The crazy part is that I have always taken ownership of my work and in some ways I have always felt like I own a small part of KXLG. I am super excited and incredibly humbled to continue the legacy created by Bob Faehn. To provide the community, listeners and our customers with the best local radio as we have been in the past 12 years. Financially, we made it work with investors. We couldn’t be luckier to have the investors that we have. They all know Bob and know what his vision was and how he operated his business. They also know the importance of local radio!
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