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Hennen, Limbaugh to reunite on air

Scott Hennen and Rush Limbaugh are back together on the airwaves. Or they will be, as soon as Hennen, now a budding radio mogul, gets his new and giant 50,000-watt station up and running. That should happen in July, he said.

Scott Hennen and Rush Limbaugh are back together on the airwaves. Or they will be, as soon as Hennen, now a budding radio mogul, gets his new and giant 50,000-watt station up and running. That should happen in July, he said.

Hennen linked himself closely to Limbaugh 20 years ago while working at KCNN radio in Grand Forks. The nation's talk radio giant has been off the air in the Red River Valley since KCNN went to a music format last fall; Fargo's KFGO dropped Limbaugh about 18 months ago to go with local programming.

Hennen held a news conference Monday in Fargo to announce that Limbaugh's daily three-hour radio talk show, the biggest in the nation with nearly 600 stations, will hold the 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. slot at WZFN-AM, Hennen's new station, at 1100 on the radio dial. Hennen bought the license and station earlier this year for $720,000 from an Alabama company. The 50,000 watt station will be the biggest around, rivaled only by WCCO in the Twin Cities, he said. Regional stalwarts WDAY and KFGO, for example, have 5,000 watt signals.

At the news conference, Hennen played a video of himself visiting Limbaugh in his Palm Beach, Fla., studio.

Limbaugh has fond ties to Grand Forks, Hennen said, since KCNN was one of the first 47 radio stations in the nation to put Limbaugh on the air back in 1988, Hennen said. During a 1992 visit to Grand Forks, Limbaugh also fell in love with Sanders 1907, the downtown restaurant. After the Flood of 1997, Limbaugh sent Sanders' owner, Kim Holmes, a check for $15,000 to help him recover, Hennen said.

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Hennen, 43, who came to Grand Forks in 1984, established himself as a regional talk radio host with "Hot Talk." He moved to WDAY Radio in Fargo in 2001. He left WDAY earlier this year, announcing he would be majority owner of the new WZFN and host of "Hot Talk" in the morning.

He said he and several local investors are spending several millions of dollars, including building a studio on Broadway in downtown Fargo. He knows how to put a paying radio operation together and has no worries about making it go, Hennen said.

His long friendships with Limbaugh and other conservative talk radio types also are paying off. Sean Hannity dropped WDAY just so he could be on WZFN, as did Mark Levin, Hennen said. "They did it out of friendship."

Limbaugh taped a video promotion with Hennen in Florida, something he's rarely done for an affiliate, Hennen said.

His new station's signal will be heard across 100,000 square miles, including all of North Dakota, much of Minnesota, into Iowa, South Dakota and Canada, Hennen said.

Reach Lee at (701) 780-1237; (800) 477-6572, ext. 237; or send e-mail to slee@gfherald.com .

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