By GWEN ALBERS, Las Vegas Optics
LAS VEGAS, NM (AP) – Joseph Baca has repeatedly told his wife, Loretta, two things – one day he would own a radio station and earn $ 1 million.
After 42 years of work and then possession of radio stations KFUN-AM and KLVF-FM, the Bacas are ready to sign. Loretta Baca turns 75 this Saturday and her 53-year-old husband will celebrate his 75th birthday on October 29, Las Vegas Optic reported.
âThe station has been good for us,â said Joseph Baca. “It was a big risk and a big commitment, but owning the station was my dream.”
âI guess I forced Loretta to participate,â he joked.
âWe’ve always worked together and we live together (so we’re together) 24/7,â added Loretta Baca.
The Bacas had planned for their sons Mike, 51, and JR, 46, to take over the business. Mike Baca, however, suffered from brain tumors that resulted in five brain surgeries. JR Baca did not want to go into the business alone. The couple’s daughter, Annette, 50, was also not interested.
Katharine Duke, owner of Duke Realty Group in Las Vegas, has listed the broadcasting building and the surrounding four acres.
KFUN aired 80 years ago on Christmas Day 1941.
As for Loretta and Joseph Baca, they knew each other from high school in West Las Vegas, graduating in 1965 and 1966 respectively. The couple started dating after meeting at the Blue Light City teen dance club.
They married on February 25, 1968 and lived in Tucson, Albuquerque and Seattle before returning to Las Vegas in the mid-1970s with their three children.
She got a job at First National Bank and he got hired at KNMX-AM in Las Vegas. About 18 months later Joseph Baca started working at KFUN as a disc jockey, program manager and in sales. Loretta Baca joined her husband as office manager.
âI love radio, but I never liked working for someone else,â said Joseph Baca, a former Las Vegas city councilor. “For 20 years, I would come to open and say” hello KFUN, I love you and I want to own you someday. “”
After the previous owner sold the station, Joseph thought he had lost his dream.
âLoretta said ‘don’t give up on your dream’,â he said.
The new owner appointed Joseph Baca as manager, which turned into 15 hour days. To lighten the workload, Loretta Baca joined the station. The couple finally had the opportunity to buy KFUN.
When given the chance to buy KLVF, the couple were organizing the $ 1.2 million fundraising when Joseph Baca remembered buying a lottery ticket.
âIt was a Friday night. I had come home and I was looking at the news and looking at the clock, âhe said. âI forgot to buy a Powerball ticket. I grabbed a Hawaiian shirt, went to the train station, and walked home forgetting the ticket.
Three days later, he returned to the store and asked the clerk to check his ticket.
âI found out I had the winning ticket,â he said of the million dollar prize. âI think the girls were more shaken up than me. It was in 2008, my mother’s birthday, August 8th.
They hope to find a buyer who will continue to care about the community, as turning off the lights is not an option.
âThere’s no way to shut it down,â Loretta Baca said. âThe story behind the station and the people still alive are part of KFUN. I think more than anything it would be like closing part of the story.
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