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Bois Forte Band radio station to stay on air 3 more months

The closure of WELY will extend its operation to allow for a potential sale.

Downtown Ely.jpg
Downtown Ely.
(2015 file / News Tribune)
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ELY — WELY, The End of the Road Radio station broadcast on 94.5 FM and 1450 AM, will remain on the air for an additional three months while the business is moving through the sale process, the Bois Forte Tribal Council announced in a news release Thursday.

The Bois Forte Band of Chippewa has owned WELY since 2005.

The station has lost $1.7 million since Bois Forte bought the station in 2005.

The council originally decided to close the station June 1. However, an interested party stepped in to buy the station and a 90-day extension was given on its closure to begin the sale process.

“These things take time due to the market appraisals, sales agreements, etc.,” Bois Forte CEO Mayan Beltran said in the release. “We are hopeful this new window will give us time to sell it now that all the details are finalized.”

However, a sale has not yet been finalized and the council has reached a finalized purchase price that is not disclosed. Beltran that potential buyers will be given a 30-day first right of refusal to make an offer.

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According the the release, Beltran is working with a Realtor to market the station to sell the entire operation, including the radio station, its tower, property, and the large building on historic Chapman Street in downtown Ely.

Another option to solely purchase the radio station, tower and the land where the tower is located, or the Federal Communications Commission broadcasting license, is also on the table.

According to the release, District I Representative Shane Drift stated he will not agree to any further extensions after the council's recent decision.

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