In this week’s issue… Andrulonis exits Bradford with WXMT sale – Community sells in the North Country – Coal country combo gets new owner – Morning show change in Philadelphia – Christmas battle in Boston? 

By SCOTT FYBUSH

Jump to: MENHVTMARICTNYNJ PACanada

*When you’ve done a column like this as long as I have – 25 years and counting! – you see a lot of broadcast groups come and go and change direction. It’s been a long time since we wrote about, or even thought about, names like Granum, Cook Inlet, Pyramid or other players who were such important pieces of the ownership landscape back when we were starting out with “New England Radio Watcher” in the mid-1990s.

What we haven’t been very good about over all those years is pointing out some of those trend lines in real time, which is why we’re starting this week’s column in the hills of northern PENNSYLVANIA by paying attention to the impending exit of an owner whose stations have prompted a lot of coverage in this space over the last decade or so.

That would be Jeff Andrulonis, who built his Colonial Media + Entertainment group from a foundation in the Twin Tiers, where over time he put together a group that included three full power FMs and multiple translators and boosters spanning turf from Olean, N.Y. down past Bradford to Smethport.

In the last few years, though, Jeff and his wife Christy (“Sweet Tea,” on the air) have turned their focus sharply to their new home base down in South Carolina, where they’ve assembled a new cluster of stations around Myrtle Beach and Georgetown.

Colonial attempted to sell its entire Twin Tiers cluster a year and a half ago, in a $615,000 deal that would have been paid in cryptocurrency, but while that transaction drew wide attention, it never reached the finish line. Instead, Andrulonis sold one signal, WAGL (103.9 Eldred), to Family Life Ministry (it became WCGH earlier this year) and for a time took his other signals silent.

Now he’s found a buyer for one of those two remaining signals, WXMT (106.3 Smethport) – and here’s where we also get to note the real-time rise of a new player in the region. Bob Lowe’s Twilight Broadcasting started one year ago this week with the purchase of WKQW (1120) and WKQW-FM (96.3) in Oil City, then got more attention a few months ago by stepping in to save WEEU (830) in Reading out of the wreckage of the Reading Eagle Co. bankruptcy.

And now Twilight is coming to Bradford and Smethport, paying just $90,000 for WXMT. Lowe wasted no time last week bringing some changes to the station under its immediate LMA, ditching the “Mountain” classic rock format Colonial had run for more than a decade and flipping the 106.3 signal to classic hits as “106.3 XMT.”

The sale of WXMT leaves Andrulonis with just one remaining signal in the region, the 96.7 in Portville/Olean that (last we heard) was doing country as WAGL. And we’re not at all sure what became of the translators and boosters around the region – perhaps it’s time for us to head down that way for a road trip soon?

OK, so we’ve had Black Friday. We’ve had Small Business Saturday. There’s no consensus yet about what Sunday is, but it should be something.
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You don't have to stop reading here! Each week's NorthEast Radio Watch is packed full of exclusive, in-depth reporting and analysis from across the nine states and five provinces we've been serving since 1994. You won't find anything like it on any free site - and you can read the rest of this week's column for just $2.99 by clicking on the "Purchase Only" link below. 

Or click here to subscribe and enjoy full access to current NERW and Tower Site of the Week columns and two decades of searchable archives -- for as little as 25 cents per day.

If you are already a member, please login to view the rest of this column. (If the site does not recognize your username, don't panic! Either your subscription has expired and we need to reactivate your account, or your username and email do not match our payment records and we need to link them. Please email Lisa,  or call her at 585-442-5411, for instructions.)

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4 COMMENTS

  1. 2 this day from DK –
    re: Jack Morse – looked at the YouTubes of him over the weekend, and hey, he was really good! I for one (I worked with him at both 5 and 9) felt he never got the recognition he deserved vis a vis some of the other legendary sportscasters of his day, such as Bill O’Donnell, Doug Logan, Mike Tirico, and Bob Costas, who did get “the breaks”. RIP Jack.

    re: Station sales – is it me or are the sale prices of stations (full power FM’s in this case) really down from what they were?not that long ago?

    • Yes, Jack was excellent. You never know who’ll hit it big nationally and who’ll stay put locally, I guess.

      And yes, station prices have definitely moderated. There are some good deals to be had out there for buyers!

  2. What’s the “Christmas battle in Boston” that you referred to in the beginning of this issue? Didn’t see anything in the MA section.

    And as a side note, WLTW and WALK went all-Christmas this past Friday, earlier than usual for both stations.

    • It looked like WROR might have been teasing something, and so I put that headline in and then forgot to take it out once it became clear that wasn’t going to be a story after all.

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