By SCOTT FYBUSH
Boston’s AM 1510 is poised to live another day, but not with the 50,000-watt signal it’s used since it moved its transmitter site from Quincy to Waltham in 1981 – and not as the result of the auction that apparently closed Friday afternoon without resulting in a winning bid.
The new owner of the station formerly known as WMEX will be veteran New England broadcaster Ed Perry, who owns WATD-FM (95.9) down in Marshfield and the license for WATD (1460 Brockton), currently silent.
In the auction that wrapped up on Friday, Daly XXL asked for a minimum bid of $300,000, as well as a commitment by the buyer to enter into a new lease at the station’s Waltham transmitter site. That lease has long been a challenge for 1510’s many owners; at $12,000 a month, it’s a big impediment to making any money at all on a station that’s long fallen off the radar for most Boston listeners.
Perry appears to be pursuing a very different model for 1510: we’re hearing that his deal is valued at just $125,000, and it’s just for the station’s license. Without the burden of the Waltham tower lease, Perry will instead have a new challenge in finding a new transmitter location from which he can operate what we expect will be a lower-powered signal on 1510. (And for the owners of that site in Waltham, there may be some soul-searching in order: if 1510 moves, there’s nobody who’ll have any interest in paying them anything, much less $144,000 a year, for those towers, which currently flank a parking lot for the adjoining office complex.)
It looks like it will be a busy 2018 for Perry: he has until April to build out his new translator for WATD(AM), which will operate at 101.1 – but in order to get the translator licensed, he’ll also have to get a new transmitter facility finished up and on the air for 1460, which has been silent for a while now.
Even before that, the last week of January is fast approaching. If Perry’s going to enter the fray for an FM translator to go with 1510, assuming he can find an available frequency, that’s when an application will have to go in to the FCC to enter into that process.
And then the clock will be ticking toward June 30, 2018, when 1510 will have to return to the air in at least some sort of temporary form to keep the license alive while Perry works out a new broadcast facility, format and identity. (We’re hearing the WMEX calls weren’t included in the transaction, though without any other broadcast properties on which to park the calls, it’s not clear why they’d be of any value to Daly XXL once it sells the license.)
We’ll give Perry the last word here:
“I’m excited about the prospect of helping to revive the station I grew up with and truly loved as a kid in Natick,” Perry said in a message Monday afternoon. “Should be fun and I’m sure there’s a lot of air talent around to fill the frequency with great music and memorable words.”
NERW’s Year in Review 2017 is coming! Daily installments start Dec. 26-29 and wrap up January 1, with our regular NERW weekly coverage resuming January 2, 2018.