In this week’s issue… WBOQ finds religion – Station sales in western PA – New lineup at Philly’s Big – One fewer country signal in Rochester – MAB hires new leader
By SCOTT FYBUSH
*When it comes time for a radio owner to sell, these days there’s often one buyer who gets the first call even before a broker gets involved. EMF Broadcasting, the operator of the K-Love and Air 1 networks, continues to fill gaps in its coverage. Late last week, that gap was on the North Shore of MASSACHUSETTS, where the radio owner that was selling was Westport Communications, owner of WBOQ (104.9 Gloucester).
By midweek, WBOQ’s live programming had ended and its many local weekend hosts had been notified their shows wouldn’t air – but there was no public announcement from the station itself before the abrupt flip just before 10 on Friday morning that put K-Love programming on 104.9.
There’s still a lot we don’t yet know about this deal, which hadn’t been filed with the FCC as of Friday. What we do know is that WBOQ’s class A signal extends K-Love’s reach to the northeast beyond WKVB (107.3 Westborough), the Boston-area signal that K-Love acquired from then-Entercom two years ago.
We know, too, that the end of “North Shore 104.9” closes out six decades of local radio on Cape Ann and vicinity, starting when the eccentric Simon Geller put WVCA on the air in the 1960s as “the Voice of Cape Ann.” After more than 20 years of Geller’s one-man operation, the Tanger family bought the signal in 1988, initially keeping its classical format (the source of the “W-Bach” callsign) before eventually moving to show tunes and then to AC.
In recent years, WBOQ had settled in as one of those local stations you don’t see much anymore, carrying the mainstream AC format during the week and full of local specialty shows on the weekends.
Why sell now? The Tangers aren’t saying anything yet, so we don’t know if the sale was as abrupt as it seemed on the air. Nor is it clear whether the stream on the North Shore site, which continues to carry the former AC format, is still running on purpose or just hasn’t been shut off yet.
As for EMF, its K-Love coverage in New England has expanded dramatically in recent years, starting with WCCC in Hartford (another former Tanger family property), then adding big signals in Providence and Boston along with smaller purchases in VERMONT and NEW HAMPSHIRE. There’s no question the company remains a likely buyer in places where it still has signal gaps, whether that’s Cape Cod, Bangor or other corners of northern New England.
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