In this week’s issue… Buffalo’s “Star” to go K-LOVE – On a “Rail” in NE PA – New Hartford TV station – Big honor for Toronto’s Pauts
By SCOTT FYBUSH
Jump to: ME – NH – VT – MA – RI – CT – NY – NJ – PA – Canada
*After months of rumors and a secretive all-staff meeting on Thursday, an FCC filing at the end of the day Friday finally confirmed what we’d known for a while: after moving Buffalo’s WTSS (Star 102.5) to its Audacy Atlas divestiture subsidiary, Audacy is selling that big signal to EMF Broadcasting, the Christian radio giant that programs K-Love and Air 1.
If you’re looking for evidence of how steeply station values have declined in recent years, consider this: back in 2004 at the height of the market, Audacy’s predecessor Entercom paid $10.5 million for then-WNSA (107.7 Wethersfield), a class B signal that rimshots Buffalo from the east.
On Friday, Audacy agreed to sell the much larger WTSS – a 110 kW superpower class B signal that blankets all of western New York and southern Ontario – for $15.5 million, and that price covered two stations, with Memphis-market WLFP (94.1 Germantown TN) included as part of the sale to EMF.
EMF already runs its flagship K-Love format in Buffalo on WBKV (89.9), a class A signal that only reaches the southern half of the market. Moving to the massive 102.5 signal, the oldest and largest FM in Buffalo, would give K-Love coverage of all of western New York and a big swath of southern Ontario, from the Niagara region up into Toronto. That’s a big deal for EMF, which has quietly been trying to add K-Love signals that reach Canada, including its recent acquisition of the former WYUL (94.7 Chateauguay NY) that reaches Montreal – and it makes 102.5 uniquely valuable to EMF’s K-Love strategy, where overall coverage of a maximum number of listeners matters more than artificial market boundaries. Unlike US commercial broadcasters that can’t easily sell advertising to Canadian businesses, EMF can accept donations from Canadian listeners just as easily as from US listeners, and it was no doubt well aware that the 102.5 signal reaches more of the greater Toronto area than any other US-based FM.
(The other US FM that gets into Toronto well is also a superpower Christian signal, Crawford’s WDCX 99.5, which leans more toward preaching as opposed to EMF’s music-based K-Love. And back in Buffalo, we expect that the current WBKV 89.9 signal would be flipped to EMF’s secondary Air 1 network once this move is complete.)
*So what does the sale mean for the future of Audacy and its competitors in New York’s second-largest market? Read on in our subscriber-only section…
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