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Country Superstars Debuts In Raleigh

Country Superstars 102.3 WFNL-FM Raleigh Bluegrass Curtis Media Triangle Marketing Associates Kix 102.9 WKIX-FM McClatcheyUpdate 1/2: WFNL-FM returned to the air on New Years Day as “Country Superstars 102.3“.

Update 12/2: The sale of Classic Hits “Kix 102.9” WKIX-FM Raleigh and 98.7 W254AS Louisburg from McClatchey Broadcadcasting Company to Curtis Media and the accompanying divestiture of 102.3 WFNL-FM (Formerly WWPL) Smithfield to Richard Heilmann Sr.’s Triangle Marketing Associates have closed.

Curtis states it intends to retain the current format on WKIX-FM. Meanwhile, WFNL-FM has dropped the Bluegrass format it has run as a placeholder since September. 102.3 is currently dark, while TMA moves the station into new studios. It is expected to relaunch within thirty days. When the sale was first announced in February we reported that Heilmann had registered Country1023FM.com for the station.

WKIX-FM 1029 has been purchased by Curtis Media Group from McClatchey Broadcasting headed by Billy McClatchey, who exits the broadcasting business to focus on his work with Chaucer Creek Capital.

Simultaneous to acquiring WKIX, Curtis Media Group has sold 102.3 FM to Triangle Marketing Associates. This sale was required to comply with FCC single market ownership limits. Triangle Marketing Associates is owned by Richard (Rick) Heilmann. The station will go silent while Heilmann relocates to new offices and studios, and will likely return to the air within thirty days with a yet to be determined format.

This marks a return of 102.9 to Curtis Media Group. This station was acquired by McClatchey in a three way transaction in 2010 between Curtis, McClatchey, and Capitol Broadcasting. In that transaction Curtis traded its interest in 102.9 for the North Carolina News Network and 850 AM. Capitol acquired WDNC and WCLY and the legendary programming operation of 850 AM “The Buzz.”

The WKIX 102.9 format is Classic Hits, and it is expected that the station will retain that format. Curtis Media Group is headed by its founder Donald W. Curtis, and its chief operating officer Trip Savery.

Curtis Media Group Executive Vice President, Trip Savery remarked, “We could not be more thrilled to welcome WKIX 102.9 back to Curtis Media Group.”

Update 2/27: The sale of 102.3 WWPL has been revised.

Instead of being purchased by the tandem of Donna Curtis McClatchey and Richard Heilmann, Heilmann alone will be making the acquisition of the station via a combination of personal savings and a loan from Wells Fargo.

The revised sale agreement removes the Facilities and Services Agreement as Curtis Media will provide up to $50,000 worth of mutually acceptable replacement studio and office equipment at a new location, while adding an Option for the Curtis Legacy Trust headed by Donna McClatchy to purchase up to 80% of WWPL.

Upon closing of the sale, Heilmann will resign his position as VP/GM of Curtis Media.

Original Report 1/8: Members of the Curtis family are shuffling their holdings in the Raleigh/Durham market, which could lead to a new format in the market.

Curtis Media, run by Don Curtis is acquiring Classic Hits “Kix 102.9” WKIX-FM Raleigh and 98.7 W254AS Louisburg from McClatchey Broadcadcasting Company for $1,229,000. That company is owned by Curtis’ son-in-law William McClatchey. In order to fit WKIX-FM in their cluster, Curtis will sell half of the CHR “Pulse 102” simulcast to a company mostly held by his daughter. Donna Curtis McClatchey and Richard Heilmann Sr.’s Triangle Marketing Associates will acquire 102.3 WWPL Smithfield for $1.5 Million. Curtis will provide TMA with studio and offices via a Facilities and Services Agreement.

Heilmann has registered Country1023FM.com for WWPL.

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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.

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