WFME Applies To Go Commercial, Prepares For Sale

94.7 WFME Newark New York Family Radio Harold Camping ESPN Merlin Cumulus
Last summer following the failed apocalypse predictions that led to the downfall of Family Stations head Harold Camping, the ministry applied to convert its 106.9 WKDN Camden, NJ and 107.9 WFSI Annapolis, MD from non-commercial to commercial status. That was the first step necessary to facilitate the sales of those stations which were purchased by Merlin Media and CBS respectively.

The last of Family Radio’s major market Commercial band FM’s has now applied to do the same. 94.7 WFME Newark, NJ is the only Class B FM in the New York market to not transmit from Manhattan itself, but still serves much of the market. It is the only Family Radio station to encode for the PPM, where it usually garners a ratings share in the 1.2 range.

A possible sale of the station should produce many suitors. ESPN has been looking for an FM to move its programming from 1050 WEPN. Cumulus would love to add a second FM in the market. Perhaps one of the local sports teams would like to pair an FM with their regional cable networks. This will be one of the most watched stories of 2012.

Comments

  1. Joseph says

    Lance:

    Did CBS’s purchase of WLNY-55 close the door on the company’s being able to acquire another FM station in New York??

    If it didn’t, I could see CBS buying WFME, move the transmitter to New York City, and use it to simulcast either WCBS-880, WINS-1010, or WFAN-660.

    If CBS is out of the picture, I could see Disney buying it for a simulcast of ESPN Radio (as you pointed out), or if Cumulus buys it, a simulcast of WABC-770.

    I can also see Buckley and Bloomberg interested, again for simulcasts of, respectively, WOR-710 and WBBR-1130.

    If the buyer of WFME turns out to already own one or more AM stations in New York, it’s safe to say that 94.7 will become a simulcast.

    • says

      CBS can acquire another FM in New York only if they sell off one of their current properties.

      I’m not 100% sure it is possible to move the tower to Manhattan due to short spacing to co-channel WMAS-FM Enfield, CT and adjacent channel 94.5 WPST Trenton, NJ. Scott Fybush would be the person to ask.

      Considering how few New York FM’s come available at any time there should be a number of bidders. The only one we can completely rule out is Clear Channel for being at the limit of FM’s in the market and possibly CBS for the reason explained above.

      I would keep any eye on the RSN’s in this game. I’m going to write about this in more detail in a few days, but there’s a number of reasons why they will be in play.

    • Charles Everett says

      Cumulus just swallowed up Citadel Communications (which owned WABC) and are now laying off employees.

      Buckley may not be buying, especially as their chairman died suddenly last year. Bloomberg are not interested.

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