BILLINGS – Cam Maxwell loved two things growing up, and still does to this day.
Radio and baseball led the Billings native down a lifetime path to recently buying ESPN 910 KBLG in Billings, along with five of its sister stations.
Word broke less than a couple weeks ago that Maxwell — after a lifetime spent in radio — took a leap of faith to buy the Connoisseur Media stations. His Desert Mountain Broadcasting group also includes FM stations 94.1 K-Sky, 96.3 The Zone, My 105.9, 106.7 The Planet and AM 730 KYYA.
910 KBLG will again carry Billings Mustangs Pioneer League Baseball this summer and plans to continue live coverage of local high school and college games.
Maxwell chatted Monday with MTN Sports and Montanasports.com about his road from playing Little League Baseball to owning a multi-million dollar media company.
Maxwell: “That’s a big jump, from Little League to here. I remember, my two passions were radio and baseball. It was right before the Scarlets (American Legion Baseball club) and we were all there in our uniforms selling candy door to door. Coach (Dennis) Maggert looked at me and said, ‘You’re a really good business person, and you’re an OK ball player,’ and it was kind of around that point I had to make a choice.”
MTN Sports: What was the radio job?
Maxwell: “High-level button pusher at KOHZ Radio. It was easy listening and I thought it was a rock station in LA. KOHZ (Cozy) 103, and so that’s where it started. And from there it just progressed.”
MTN Sports: What did it feel like when you signed the (sale) paperwork, excitement, nervous, a big leap of faith?
Maxwell: “It’s a lot like when you buy a house, just with a few more zeros. You kind of go through all the steps, then when it comes to the signing, it’s almost anticlimactic. I spend 13 months putting this deal together, so when it finally happened, it was like, ‘Oh, OK, I can tell somebody now.’ So it was hard for me not to tell my family. My parents didn’t know until the night before it was announced. It’s been a long process. I’m relieved. I’m excited, but I’m relieved.”
MTN Sports: Some of your fondest memories through the years? It’s like a 30-year, overnight success story. But you’ve interviewed folks from AC/DC to…?”
Maxwell: “One of my favorite memories was interviewing the Scorpions back in 1989 or ’90. It was just a big thrill and probably every female under 20 was downtown wanting to see the Scorpions, and they’d had a long night. So I was ready to go with their new song and my music director cued up the wrong song. We do this big interview, and I hit the song and it’s Madonna, ‘Holiday.’ So I was the guy that got to do that. That was fun.”
MTN Sports: You also brought the only all-sports station to Billings. Why?
Maxwell: “I’m a huge sports nut and I’m a local sports guy. It just made sense. It was a big part of my life and I wanted to make sure we had a station that could carry it forward.”