HOMETOWN HEROES: Family keeps station from leaving Las Vegas

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By Don Pace

KLVF-FM could have gone to Santa Fe, but Joseph and Loretta Baca made sure it didn’t.

The local couple was able to keep radio station KLVF local. It has been more a journey than a business transaction for the Bacas.

Even after a windfall lottery payday, the couple stays focused on a dream they say is even bigger than themselves. Last year, Joseph won $1 million, but the couple didn’t spend it on fancy cars and houses; they decided to invest it into their business.

“We hope that the community is as happy about keeping KLVF here in Las Vegas as we are because if it were lost, there would be a big void,” Loretta said. “It is a treasure that couldn’t be lost.”

Joseph said he felt the community should know what’s been going on behind the scenes because the only ones who really know are him and his wife, their attorneys and Federal Communications Commission officials. He said the struggle to keep KLVF-FM a local station has been both exhausting and costly, but ultimately a dream fulfilled.

“Loretta knows. I have been praying and visualizing owning KFUN and KLVF for 25 years.” Joseph Baca said. “When I was working for Dennis (Mitchell), I would open the gate at 4:30 in the morning, and my first words would be, ‘Good morning, KFUN Hill, I love you, and you’re going to be mine one of these days.’ As I would drive to the station and unlock the doors, I would say, ‘I love you KFUN and KLVF, and someday I’m going to own you.’”

Baca said he believes then and now that believing in himself was the key. But he said, along with a strong belief in one’s abilities, one has to constantly work at it and work to do more. He says he has extensive plans for developing KFUN Hill as a destination that would offer an array of businesses the best of the city of Las Vegas.

“I had that desire in me and a belief in myself that owning this property would happen, and today its become true,” Baca said.

“I don’t think it’s luck. My family and I always send out positive thoughts, and working toward the goal of owning what is really a brother and sister station is not luck or coincidence. I set the vision in motion, and I made it happen in my mind first. And now it’s become true,” Baca said. He laughed, saying, “It may take, as in my case, 25 years, but don’t give up.”

Baca got serious when he started talking about how close he and the community came to losing KLVF. Back in 2000, a petition had been filed with the FCC to move the station to Santa Fe.

For Baca, asking the federal government to rescind any decision is a long and winding legal struggle, but in the end, FCC commissioners were somehow sympathetic to his argument that KLVF was born in Las Vegas, and this is where it should stay.

Baca pleaded his case before a panel of the FCC in Washington that wasn’t too receptive, with the chairman saying, “You can try to convince us (to change our minds), but you might as well talk about the weather in Las Vegas.”  

Baca said he told the panel that its decision was not about him, but the community.

“I outlined all the programming and public service that we offer. I said the stations are a link to the community we serve.”

Recently, the Bacas signed papers at New Mexico Land and Title that will keep KLVF a local station.

But Baca isn’t sitting still waiting for business to come his way.

Baca said the battle was worth fighting and an incentive to move forward with even larger dreams.

“This has only set in motion other things that I want to accomplish on this beautiful hill. Realtors tell us that Loretta and I likely own own the most valuable commercial property in Las Vegas. My long-range goal is to attract a restaurant with a patio overlooking the community, where people can sit in the evenings having dinner with a great view,” Baca said.

Oh, and a few more ideas, Baca said he was looking at hotel possibilities and a gated retirement community, “I’ve already picked the name, Sky View Estates.”