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K-Love Coming To Youngstown

Jamz 101.9 WRBP Youngstown Steve Harvey KLove K-Love EMF BernardUpdate 1/1: 101.9 WRBP is currently silent as EMF has closed on the purchase of the station.

Update 12/14: Bernard Radio has begun promoting that “Jamz 101.9” will sign off on Sunday, December 30. EMF will then take over operations of the station on January 1.

Concurrently, Black Talk 1500 WASN will go dark. WASN is the local Youngstown affiliate for Tom Joyner, Michael Baisden, and Al Sharpton. There has been no update on the status of fellow sister Oldies 1330 WGFT.

Original Report 6/13: EMF Broadcasting will soon expand its Christian AC “K-Love” to Youngstown, OH.

The company has acquired Urban “Jamz 101.9” WRBP Hubbard from Bernard Radio for $500,000. Said station operates with 3kW at 100 meters.

Following the sale, Bernard will retain “Oldies 1330” WGFT and Urban Talk 1500 WASN in Youngstown as well as Liberal Talk 1580 WVKO and Spanish Hits “La Mega 103.1” WVKO-FM in the Columbus market.

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Lance Venta is the Owner and Publisher of RadioInsight.com and a consultant for RadioBB Networks specializing in integration of radio and the internet. Lance has two decades of experience tracking the audio industry and its use of digital platforms.

26 Comments


  1. Are you sure? I know that they just updated their website (http://www.jamz1019.com/) as did both 1500 WASN and 1330 WGFT and the station just got a resolution from the city of Youngstown (http://www.wytv.com/content/news/local/story/Radio-Station-Honored-By-Youngstown-City-Council/E6tNsfJq602v6EzP-pYb2Q.cspx)

    Youngstown City Council took time Wednesday to recognize the city’s number one urban radio station.

    During Wednesday’s meeting, council members presented a resolution to Skip Bednarczyk. He is the market manager for WRBP-JAMZ 101.9 FM.

    The resolution was in recognition of continued success in the urban format, and for keeping the radio station highly rated, profitable and on the air in Youngstown.

    “This type of a format is going away in several markets, but because of the profitability, and the ratings success here, it’s a viable factor in the marketplace,” said Bednarczyk.

    Bednarczyk said listeners can expect more new music, contests and community involvement from JAMZ in the coming weeks and months. They plan to partner with area churches, and put kids to work cleaning up around the city this summer.

    I know there was a plan involving WASN-AM to be spun off and that WGFT-AM had got signal upgrades this past spring, but to be sold and leave the market without a urban format when they were the 5 th highest radio station in the market I think their is more to the story that just a simple sell.

    • Profile photo of Lance Venta


      The deal was filed with the FCC. It’s officially been sold pending FCC approval.

  2. Profile photo of


    But there already is a k-love in Youngstown, Ohio at 107.1 (licensed to Greenville) and they just got a new website. Although this happened to WAMO 106.7 in Pittsburgh but it was for alot more at $8.9 Millon. Also, what about this? http://www.wytv.com/content/news/local/story/Radio-Station-Honored-By-Youngstown-City-Council/E6tNsfJq602v6EzP-pYb2Q.cspx

    • Profile photo of Lance Venta


      EMF runs two programming formats. Christian AC “K-Love” and Christian CHR “Air 1”. With WRBP being closer to the center of the population in the Youngstown market, K-Love will presumably move there with Air 1 debuting on 107.1.

      Website means nothing. Stations operate as usual until sale is approved and finalized. City honor just happened to come before the station was sold, not sure what you’re looking to hear about that.


  3. It’s quite possible the local manager had no idea that the station was about to be sold, when he spoke to Youngstown City Council in mid-May.

    I’d have to agree that they’ll probably move K-Love to 101.9 and put Air 1 on 107.1.

    • Profile photo of johndavis


      I used to work with Skip in the 1990’s. He doesn’t BS people.

      Usually, when ownership starts talking to EMF, the market manager doesn’t find out the results of those talks until s/he learns their job is going away upon closing.


  4. From my understand Skip is near the top when it comes to these decisions as both He and Christine the CEO run Bernard. In the past year, he was promoted to a vice president as he added duties in Ft Wayne and Savannah as the GM so he has more power than he did a couple of years ago.

    And when I worked with Skip in Youngstown, he pretty much let the place go the hell even though in his defense the prior ownership let it go down hill he just finished the job as at any given time he seem not to have control of what was going on as everything he did either went wrong or backfired on him. but you are correct as he does not BS people just does not know how to effectively mange them.


    • I’m only surprised that Bernard held onto that cluster for as long as they did. The market’s long been dominated by CC and Cumulus.

      I wouldn’t be surprised to see WGFT/1330 go dark as well. After they lost their nighttime tower site ten years ago (WNIO/1390 bought the land for an upgrade to their site) the station became a non-factor.


  5. Current Bernard (Urban talk WASN-AM and now defunct Urban AC WRBP-FM JAMZ 101.9) GM Skip Bednarczyk and his wife Helen has filed with the FCC to purchase 94.3 FM Niles from RICHARD P. MARBURGER.

    Voluntary Assignment of License
    From: RICHARD P. MARBURGER
    To: HELEN M. BEDNARCZYK
    Form 345
    This was accepted on Monday Dec 31st 2012.

    If the plan goes as expected, either WGFT or WASN will become the new AM home to urban AC in Youngstown as the now former WRBP Jamz 101.9 was a money maker and was highly rated plus the AM/FM translator combo would own the urban market as there is no competition except WENZ Z107.9 out of Cleveland which puts a spotty signal in a good part of the Youngstown market.

    http://licensing.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe/prod/cdbs/pubacc/prod/comment.pl?Application_id=1534646&File_number=BALFT-20121227ABP

    • Profile photo of Lance Venta


      Thank you.

      We’ve had already prepared a report to go live tomorrow about all this. I hope Bednarczyk has the ability to improve the 94.3 translator beyond the 2 watts it is currently licensed with if they have any hope of pulling it off.


      • From what I’ve heard (disclaimer: I worked as a freelance webmaster for two other stations in the market) that translator can be upped to the max 250 watts and can cover the entire market. Other people have desired that translator for years but the seller was asking for too much.

        The Bernard folks apparently **could** afford 94.3 with the sale of WRBP, which if paired with either WASN or WGFT, can make it much more appealing to unload one of those two AM daytimers, while taking the other one silent for good.


        • Bernard is about making money not throwing away money. Turning off a frequency that someone will buy is not in their plans. As you can see from the first transaction of 1540 and 1570 to the one that just occurred a few months ago Being able to pick up 2 AM radio station for $50,000 cash and then get re sold for $150,000 their is a clear market for AM radio as you already know in the valley.

          Unless things have changed again, the plan that is “being sold” is one where both AM’s get sold as a combo despite WGFT’s transmitter plant problems as the owners over the past 20 years have let the signal go to hell.

          • Profile photo of


            If both 1330 and 1500 operate as a two-station network, with the FM translator taking top priority in branding and marketing, then it could work. Other than than I can’t see a feasible way both of those AM day timers remain on the air, or certainly in a manner that it can be profitable.

            To see just HOW much the 1330 facility has literally fallen off the face of the earth is a real tragedy.


  6. Also I heard that the new format will not occur for at least 2 weeks to a month as they do not want to shock the current listener base as the two formats are to different extremes as they want to ease the format into town.


    • That would be a first. Usually when a station switches format to K-Love, it’s simply a dead segue, pulling it up from the audio board. (What is now WLVX/107.1 took the feed right after the conclusion of a high school football game.) Even the sign-off of WABB-FM had the station take up the satellite feed mid-song when the final ID was given, with no moment of silence.

      My guess is that EMF won’t or can’t take formal control of 101.9 for another two weeks, and Bernard wanted to hold to the date WRBP would sign-off.


      • True but currently in Youngstown you have a very upset urban community that is unhappy to say the least as they are losing their voice and they blame bernard for the move. From a technical stand point the site is in near perfect shape as Mike the engineer kept that site damn there perfect. As it stand the city of youngstown (owner of 20 federal place)throws them out when their lease is up on the 28 hense one of the reasons why they cannot STL the signal from downtown.

        Also EMF does not get the call letters as Bernard keeps that along side the jamz brand,website, and any thing that is not the FCC license and transmitter plant. Hell Bernard owns the mineral rights under the transmitter.

        • Profile photo of Lance Venta


          Here’s the reason 101.9 has not debuted its new format yet…

          The FCC has yet to approve the transfer of the station to EMF. The applications for the transfer of control, conversion to non-commercial, and the station’s license renewal application from last May are all still pending. EMF cannot begin operating the station until they get the government approval.

          Bernard shut the transmitter down on 12/30 until the license transfer goes through and the sale closes.

        • Profile photo of


          EMF is a non-profit organization. They couldn’t care less about any protests from a disaffected listener base. Lance is correct on all points, and honestly, this excuse of not wanting to upset listeners just smacks of patronizing. Just my opinion.

          EMF doesn’t need the WRBP calls; 101.9 will more than likely take the WLVX calls from 107.1 Greenville while that station switches from K-Love and assuredly picks up their Air1 service.


          • Then if that was the case, then why is WRBP off the air? If EMF and Bernard did not care they would of waited until the last moment like they did with 107.1 in Greenville. Both were commercial stations that went non comm so why not do it on 101.9? It seems that Bernard decided on THEIR own to shut it off until the FCC closes the deal for 101.9.

            Because if Bernard wanted to they could fire up 101.9 and play polka if they chose to as they are within their legal rights and the station has legal authority to do so so.

            Reason:
            Bernard decided that to make the transition smooth, they on their side decided not to upset listeners and shut the signal off early waiting until the FCC approves the deal and EMF makes a fresh start. The station transition goes smooth, and then it does not cause an uproar.

            Yes if this was EMF they would say the hell with it and flip it in my sentence if they could, but since Bernard owns the place, they decided to not allow EMF to do it.

            Keep in mind Bernard still has the keys (literary) and when the GM/company get honored by the city (http://www.wytv.com/content/news/local/story/Radio-Station-Honored-By-Youngstown-City-Council/E6tNsfJq602v6EzP-pYb2Q.cspx) they might be doing the community a service and since there are loud rumors of Skip being involved in relaunching a urban format, call it good faith.

            As for the call letters I was just pointing out that Bernard retained them as I have been told that to is for slae as they are looking at how best to use the “jamz” brand that has been around in some form for almost 20 years (going back to the stop 26 riverbend day’s)

          • Profile photo of Lance Venta


            WRBP is off the air because EMF does not have the legal right to operate the station yet and Bernard doesn’t want to keep operating it. It is off until the FCC renews the license, approves the conversion to non-commercial, and approves the sale.

          • Profile photo of


            Look, it’s not that Bernard is doing this not to shock the listeners, and it has nothing to do with the station having received the ‘keys’ to the city (before the sale was announced).

            Bernard could keep WRBP on the air if they wanted until the K-Love feed gets piped through the audio board. But they aren’t. It’s simply them holding to a decision to turn off the transmitter at the prescribed date: nothing more, nothing less. Nothing has them doing it ‘for the good of the community.’ It’s just a business decision.

            I’m sorry for sounding cynical about this, but as the old saying goes, radio is a business, not a hobby.


  7. The last day for the current WASN-AM 1500

    From the 1500 WASN website the last official day for the current format/station is Jan 31st after which time, the station will go of the air until a sale can be completed:

    http://www.1500wasn.com/


  8. Look I have an insider view on this as both a former employee and someone who along side a few others arekicking the tires on the two AM stations so I know more than you think.
    They turned it off as they are weaning the audience off as Skip has plans on moving the urban to the AM and then selling it so he wants to keep the community happy. Unless you have an inside view how can you assume Bernards plan?


  9. I am sorry for being so harsh but i am looking at this from a different perspective. I know that when the smoke clears urban AC music will air on a AM/FM translator and Skip will have to go to a urban community to sell this and he wants to make $Money as he knows it worth and that is why he spent 25K for the Niles translator.

    Understand one of the first rules of business is do not piss off your customers/listeners as if you do they will not come back. Many in the black community look at him as putting it nicely the “white devil” so he already has the cards stacked against him and the only reason why he cares as he see this as a money making venture despite the pissed off community. Skip is about money not anything else.
    .
    Jamz was a high billing station, that towards the end was fighting for 5th place in the book and Skip wants to own the market when it comes down to it. His plan was to have the translator owned and moved by the end of the year and start 2013 as Jamz 1500’/94.3 make it a profit and then cash out but since he had to wait until he could get 94.3 the plan got changed.

    Skip is looking for partners on the AM radio stations and then he owns the FM someone else owns the AM’s and they form a partnership to run them as he had been talking for years about doing this, but he was planning on using 101.9.

    Since this all came out the way it did he is looking to just sell all three and move on as now everybody in town wants 1330 and 1500 and he is seeing how much he can fetch.

    BTW thanks to radioinsight for letting everyone who work at Bernard now about the sale of 101.9 as Skip had no intent of letting everyone now of the sale and thanks to the vindy for giving what turned out to be the wrong date for the end of the format.


  10. Licensee Bernard Ohio LLC responded, saying that Squire provided no facts to support its allegations, and further said that “it is virtually impossible to comprehend [Squire’s] arguments” on foreign ownership and that regardless Squire did not prove that anybody other than the licensee controls the stations.

    Squire also objected to a license modification for WRBP (a main studio waiver) – EMF said this should be tossed because it was tied entirely to Squire’s battle with Zwirn/Bernard and had nothing whatsoever to do with the merits of the modification.

    Squire’s charge of predatory lending practices on Zwirn’s part were also tossed due to lack of proof.
    In the end, the licenses were renewed, the deal approved and the main studio waiver granted.

    http://rbr.com/fcc-turns-down-petitions-against-d-b-zwirn/


  11. 1330 am and 1500 are off the air even though there is A STRONG rumor going around that Herb Washington (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herb_Washington) owner of various McDonald’s in the valley has agreed to buy at least one AM (1500) and lease 94.3 from Skip B and bring back the jamz format in the valley. I heard the price for the Am was between $35,000-$50,000 and to lease 94.3 skip wants $3,000 per month.

    From my understanding the 94.3 translator will either be located at the WGFT site or possibly the WFMJ-TV site as Skip has been deciding where best to place the signal..

    Herb has been involved with many of the jamz promotions over the past couple of years and he sees this as a potential money maker.

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