Credit Union MBL Helps Radio Group Grow in Southwest Washington

To say Joel Hanson has lived his life in radio is an understatement. He literally had his diapers changed in the industry.

Hanson was just a year old when his family put KLOG on the air in Kelso, Wash., and the Hansons have never let go of the reins. Over the years, Joel Hanson worked his way up in the family business. Now he’s the owner and general manager.

KLOG’s brand of “hometown news, home team sports and classic hit songs” remains a popular format in the market, but it is now the older sibling to two additional radio brands. The family launched KUKN—a successful country music station—in 1990, and added a third radio brand recently using a member business loan (MBL) from Fibre Federal Credit Union.

“Three years ago, thanks to a loan with the credit union, we were able to start ‘The Wave,’ which is our newest station with the biggest growth,” said Hanson, who is barely able to withhold a big grin when he shares the success story. “It’s been exciting to see it grow and see an idea blossom.”

Hanson enjoys the local connection his family business has with many of the area’s credit unions. He said the loan process with Fibre was seamless.

“This came down to working with people who I could explain the story to and who could understand what we are trying to achieve—and not having to rely on taking that story to a national bank or anything else,” Hanson said. “I was able to really simply, without a whole lot of work, explain what we were trying to achieve with the station, and obviously we had good track records with our previous stations.”

Fibre’s team is a strong voice lobbying Congress for passage of S. 2231 and H.R. 1418, bills that would allow credit unions to increase their business lending. A Senate vote on S. 2231, known as the Small Business Lending Enhancement Act, is possible any day during the current lame-duck session.

“I have been just amazed at the ability to really see business people’s dreams come true,” said Angie Leppert, marketing specialist at Fibre. “It’s bread and butter. It’s what puts food on the table for their families. It allows them to have employment opportunities for our community.”

The Hanson family’s trio of radio stations is a good example. The radio stations provide jobs for 13 full-time employees, and perhaps more importantly, a local voice for the communities of Longview, Kelso, Castle Rock and Rainer that the Portland and Seattle stations cannot match. That local touch is a passion for the Hansons.

“You know, we see that same spirit with our credit unions, that passion to help local businesses. That’s what it’s all about,” Hanson said. “If they grow, we grow. We see that as a key to our success.”

Watch this video to hear more about Joel Hanson and the relationship between his small business and his credit union:


Editors’ note: The Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) continues to work toward passage of S. 2231 and H.R. 1418. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid remains committed to a Senate vote before the end of the year, and a contingent of Northwest credit union advocates are currently on Capitol Hill meeting with legislators and urging continued support for the bill, which would increase credit unions’ capacity to issue member business loans (MBLs). The legislation would help create new jobs and strengthen the economy by giving more small businesses like Fitness Over 50, Inc., access to capital while strengthening community ties by connecting more locally owned businesses with not-for-profit lenders in their own communities.

Questions? Contact a member of the Association’s Legislative Affairs team:
Jennifer Wagner, Vice President of Legislative Advocacy
Mark Minickiello, Vice President of Legislative Affairs
Pam Leavitt, Policy Advisor

Posted in Compliance News, Compliance News.