Ely radio station sold, pending FCC approval

Zoe Communications, Inc. in Shell Lake, Wisconsin, bought WELY. During the transition, it will be off the air for about 90 days starting Thursday.

Ely watertower and business district
Downtown Ely.
File / Duluth News Tribune
We are part of The Trust Project.

ELY — WELY, The End of the Road Radio station broadcast on 94.5 FM and 1450 AM, will go silent Thursday as it transitions to new ownership with Zoe Communications, Inc.

According to a news release, the sale is pending approval of the FCC, which is anticipated to take about 90 days. The $130,000 purchase from the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa will include all of WELY’s equipment, its tower and the transfer of the FCC licenses. A location in Ely has not yet been determined for the new studio.

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

“We are looking for a space that is better sized for the operation of the station in town,” Zoe Communications general manager Mike Oberg said in the release. He doesn’t expect any major programming changes.

Zoe Communications, Inc., located in Shell Lake, Wisconsin, owns seven FM and four AM stations in Northwestern Wisconsin.

WELY first broadcast in October 1954. It remained on the air until 1987 but closed due to financial struggles. CBS broadcaster Charles Kuralt, known for his "On the Road" segments on "The CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite" and as the first anchor of "CBS News Sunday Morning," bought the station in 1995 and operated it until he died in 1997.


The set of bills would require up to 24 weeks of paid family and medical leave from all Minnesota employers, regardless of size.
Bankruptcy information gathered from cases filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Duluth.
Recently sold properties from St. Louis County.
The addition of 72 Poplar River Condos units nearly doubles the vacation rental company's North Shore portfolio.
An assistance package should provide $200,000 to complete the renovation of the neighboring building in the Spirit Valley neighborhood.
Bankruptcy information gathered from cases filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Duluth.
Recently sold properties from St. Louis County.
Bankruptcy information gathered from cases filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Duluth.
Recently sold properties from St. Louis County.
Investments could help Yanmar double production and lead to the creation of new jobs.

Operated by the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa since 2005, the council originally decided to close WELY on June 1. General Manager Brett Ross and remote billing staff remained with the company. The closure of the station was extended twice to allow for its sale.

Bois Forte will retain ownership of the WELY building, including the upstairs office space. The downstairs studio and offices may be repurposed for a future business that would be owned and operated by Bois Forte, the press release said. The upstairs offices will be removed to prepare it for a future tenant.

Our newsroom occasionally reports stories under a byline of "staff." Often, the "staff" byline is used when rewriting basic news briefs that originate from official sources, such as a city press release about a road closure, and which require little or no reporting. At times, this byline is used when a news story includes numerous authors or when the story is formed by aggregating previously reported news from various sources. If outside sources are used, it is noted within the story.
What To Read Next
Artificial intelligence can now act as an artist or a writer. Does that mean AI is ready to play doctor? Many institutions, including Mayo Clinic, believe that AI is ready to become a useful tool.
While traffic has roughly doubled since 2020 — the heart of the pandemic, when there were 14.9 million passengers — it’s still not at pre-pandemic levels: In 2019, there were 39.6 million passengers.
Members Only
Duluth Cosmetic Tattoo Studio, North Shore Tattoo and Duluth Tattoo Company all opened within the last few months.
"It's actually a really good fit — a landscape company with a wedding venue on the same property,” said Ken Hammarlund.