Jack Minkow brokered some of the biggest deals in the annals of broadcast ownership. But his most enduring legacy may have been his role in bringing Steve Dahl to Chicago.
President and CEO of Chicago-based Broadcasting Asset Management Corporation for 30 years, Minkow died Sunday after suffering two brain aneurysms. He was 68.
Before he launched his firm in 1978, Minkow managed radio stations for United Broadcasting Company in Baltimore and for ABC in Detroit and Chicago, including two years as vice president and general manager of WDAI (now WLS FM 94.7).
Having competed against Dahl’s station in Detroit, Minkow played a key role in hiring the 23-year-old radio personality at WDAI, according to Bob Heymann, who was Minkow’s partner in Broadcasting Asset Management for 23 years. Minkow also gave former NBA coach Dick Vitale his first job in radio — before he joined ESPN, according to Heymann.
In 2001, Minkow and Heymann brokered the biggest single-station deal in Chicago radio history — the $165 million sale of WNIB (now WDRV FM 97.1) by Bill and Sonia Florian to Bonneville International. "This was the last remaining asset in the hands of a ma-and-pa operation," Minkow told the Chicago Tribune at the time. "When you have the very last of anything on the block, buyers will pay what they think it is worth."
They also handled the $75 million sale of WPNT (now WILV FM 100.3) by Century Broadcasting to Evergreen Media Corp. in 1997. Weeks after the transaction, Evergreen sold WPNT along with WLUP FM 97.9 and a station in San Francisco for $205 million to Bonneville International.
Minkow, who grew up in South Bend, Indiana, held a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University and an MBA from DePaul University. After advising clients on mergers and acquisitions valued at more than $1 billion, he retired from the brokerage business and became a consultant.
Survivors include Minkow’s wife, Lori, and two daughters, Melissa and Meredith. Services will be Wednesday in Skokie.