Thursday, September 15, 2011

Give the Gift of Radio

Increasingly I have noticed owners donating their radio properties. I'm not sure what the advantage of this is, unless one had political motives. But that's me being old and cynical, I guess some of these companies are just doing their civic duty. I tried to do the research on this but often the selling price is not publicly available. as cynical as I am I understand fully that many radio property transactions don't require a purchase. When Robert A. Jones is deceased it's totally appropriate that KVLW-FM is distributed with his estate to say Patricia A. Jones. It's also normal to see an new board of regents or directors succeed a new board.

The one other exception I can think of is trying to offload a hopelessly bankrupt property. The Fall 2010 issue of Media Law & Policy [here] wrote the following:
"Are there any alternatives to bankruptcy for a deficit ridden radio station that cannot attract buyers? One alternative carrying potential tax benefits for the owner is for the licensee to donate the assets of the station to a qualified Section 501(c)(3) charitable corporation. For example, a licensee donated the assets of the station to a local college."
To my knowledge most of the stations below fall into that category but I accept that other scenarios could exist. Despite all those rationalizations... actual donations are unusual. Here are some examples from the last couple years. Make of them what you will.

106.9 WKZB - Stonewall MS
DATE: 9-14-11 
This property was donated to Meridian Community College by Mississippi Broadcasters. They have requested the new calls of WEXR. they dropped Classic Hits and went to Easy Listening... an unusual programming decision.

89.9 WAPJ-FM - Torrington, CT
DATE: 9-14-11
WAPJ was already owned and operated by the I. B. and Zena H. Temkin Foundation. They donated it to Torrington Community Radio Foundation, Inc. Which so far as I know is a collection of the community members already involved with the station.

1480 WPFJ-AM  - Franklin, NC
DATE: 8/1/2011
Drake Enterprises donated WPFJ to Toccoa Falls College.  The brand changed to "the dove" but the format is still Contemporary Christian and much of the programing is identical.

690 KFXN-AM Minneapolis MN
DATE: 5/26/11
Clear channel donated this one to the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council  earlier this year. MMTC flipped the format from 9/6/2011 to Hmong ethnic programming. More here.

1360 WTOC-AM Newton NJ.
DATE: 5/26/11
This station was already being held by the Aloha Station Trust, the license company that's been holding a large number of Clear Channel properties since their equity deal in 2009. They donated it to the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council . On August 23rd MMTC sold the station to Radio Vision Cristiana for $46K.

WHJA-AM Laurel, MS
DATE: 4/8/2011
Another Clear Channel donation to the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council. It's was a rare all-blue station and it's currently silent. More here.

1320 KYHN-AM Fort Smith, AR
DATE: 4/8/2011
Another Clear Channel donation to the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council. IN July 0f 2010 Clear Channel put out a press release that they donated KYHN to the MMTC. But they list the state abbreviation wrong and old call letters KYHN became KWHN in April of 2008. The station has been silent since march.  More here.

KMFX-AM Wabasha, MN
Another Clear Channel donation to the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council. They listed the calls incorrectly as KYMX in their press release. In June MMTC turned around and sold the already silent property to Alan Quarnstrom's Q Media Group, LLC for $15,000. Calls changed to WBHA on 7/1/2011. They're just simulcasting KCUE. More here.

1340 WYNF-AM - North Augusta, SC
Another Clear Channel donation to the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council.  The ownership still has not been transferred. Maybe they changed their minds? More here.

1400 WBFN-AM -  Battle Creek, MI
DATE: 7/31/2008
Following an exchange of Clear Channel stations with Cumulus, the latter needed to offload a station to meet the ownership caps. Rather than hold it in trust or sell it they donated it to Family Life Communications Inc.