This morning, KFUN radio station owner Joseph Baca was reading various items from the community bulletin for his listeners.
But he was holding back on especially good news in his life: He told the Optic that he won $1 million in the Powerball.
The 61-year-old said he was planning on claiming the prize today at the New Mexico Lottery headquarters in Albuquerque. New Mexico Lottery spokeswoman Linda Hamlin said her agency doesn’t make an announcement until it’s presented with a ticket.
After a long career at the station, Baca bought KFUN-AM a few years ago. When he found out about his lottery win, he was in the process of getting a sizable loan from Community First Bank, which he said he doesn’t need anymore.
Baca said he got the Powerball ticket in question last Saturday at the Ross One Stop station at Grand and University avenues. But he didn’t check to see if he won until Tuesday because he was so busy. He brought it by the Better Stop service station near Grand and Mills avenues.
He said the first clerk told him, “You’re a lucky guy,” and a second cried out, “Oh, my God.”
He said that during all the excitement, the clerks only gave him the store’s receipt, but not his receipt or the winning ticket. He said that after he told his disbelieving family about his win, he discovered that he didn’t have the winning ticket. He went back to the store shortly after, and the clerks were ready with it, realizing their mistake.
Baca then put the ticket in a safety deposit box at his bank.
“This is a total blessing,” said Baca, clad in his trademark Hawaiian shirt during an interview in his office this morning.
He said he plans to use the money to buy the KLVF-FM station in cash and purchase the rest of the land on KFUN Hill. He said he also wants to give lump sums to his three children as well.
He said his accountant has advised him that taxes will reduce the win by $380,000. Still, he said it’s a great return for the $12 he spends every week on lottery tickets.
“We’re going to invest this money wisely. We’re not lavish spenders,” he said. “I love KFUN and KLVF so much.”
The Baca family does just about everything at the station. In fact, Baca himself cleans the station every Sunday.
“That keeps me humble,” he said.