The 1980s saw a surge in corporate broadcast ownership in Utah. Station transfer regulations were relaxed and Ogden and Provo became part of the Salt Lake market. This allowed FM stations licensed in Ogden and Provo to put their transmitters in the Oquirrh Mountains and thus reach the Salt Lake radio audience. The Salt Lake market became attractive to investors and to large corporations, which brought in corporate management and programming teams and infused cash into the market. As a result, the Salt Lake market became among the most competitive in the country, with more than forty radio stations. To try to differentiate themselves from the Ogden and Provo stations, the Salt Lake County broadcasters formed the Salt Lake Market Radio Broadcasters Association, which caused industry tension until the late 1980s when the Association was changed to the Salt Lake Area Broadcasters Association and was then opened to all Wasatch Front broadcasters.
Also in the 1980s, several stations became the property of non-Utah corporations and owners. The most significant was Frank Carman's sale of KLUB/KISN to Sun Mountain Broadcasting. In 1988 Citadel Communications Corporation bought KCNR and KLZX. The KMGR stations were purchased in 1988 and later sold again. KKAT was sold to the Brown Broadcasting Group in 1986. Using a modern country-and-western format, Brown made KKAT number one in the Salt Lake market and then sold it to a San Francisco financial group for $12 million, the highest price ever paid for a Utah radio station.