In this week’s issue… New owners for a Long Island radio icon – Christmas flips begin in NJ, NY – New “Jack” in PA – More retirements in Canada
By SCOTT FYBUSH
*Among a certain subset of radio people, there’s a special place in the heart for a little radio station on the East End of Long Island. WLNG (92.1 Sag Harbor). Readers of this column probably don’t need much of an explanation for our passion for the things that make WLNG unique; as we showed you in our visit there last summer, it’s more than just the throwbacks – all the jingles, the lost-dog reports, the remotes from the converted school bus – that distinguish WLNG. None of those things would matter if WLNG weren’t also a successful 21st century business, which it is. For all the money that’s come to the Forks and the Hamptons in the last few decades, this area still likes to think of itself as the small towns it once was, and WLNG still speaks to that image of its market.
All that, and it gets namechecked by Billy Joel on late-night TV. But when the news spread last week that WLNG had been sold to its first new set of owners in decades, it wasn’t Billy writing the check. Instead, Main Street Broadcasting has applied to transfer WLNG to a new company called Bark Out Loud Dogs Media, helmed by Sandra Foschi, a New York City-based physical therapist who owns a house in Sag Harbor.
Bark Out Loud Dogs is paying $3.9 million for WLNG, which sounds like a huge figure for a class A FM station until you look at the unusual breakdown of the sale price: $3.2 million for WLNG’s waterfront studio property (and former AM transmitter site) on the Redwood Causeway in the midst of some of the most expensive real estate anywhere, leaving $700,000 to account for the actual broadcast assets – $575,000 for the license and $125,000 for the FM transmitter site property (“Mount Sidney”) a few miles to the south in a rather less pricey part of Noyac.
WLNG had quietly been for sale for several years, following the death back in 2011 of Robert O. King, who’d bought the station from its founders back in 1969. King was a remarkably low-profile owner, leaving the operation of his station to longtime general manager Paul Sidney and his successor, current GM Gary Sapiane, each of whom had only a small ownership stake in the station. It was King’s estate that had continued to own the license, and his heirs who slowly began to look at unlocking some of the incredible real estate value that had grown under the studios over the years.
What happens now? Read on…
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