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Classical South Florida Flips To K-Love; WPBI News To Continue For Now

Classical South Florida 88.7 WKCP Miami 90.7 WPBI West Palm Beach News 101.9 Educational Media Foundation EMF K-LoveEducational Media Foundation has begun operating the three Classical programmed stations owned by Classical South Florida with their Christian AC “K-Love” programming.

New call letters accompany the change at all three stations. 89.7 WKCP Miami is now WMLV, 90.7 WPBI West Palm Beach is WFLV, and 88.7 WNPS Fort Myers becomes WDLV. 93.5 in Butler, AL had previously held the WMLV call letters but switches to WMLG. The move gives Fort Myers two stations airing the “K-Love” programming for now as 98.5 WLVO San Carlos Park previously in existence, but one will likely switch over to the “Air 1” Christian CHR network in time.

That same move will not be taking place in West Palm Beach for the time being. EMF will continue to run the Public News/Talk “WPBI News” 101.9 W270AD West Palm Beach/WFLV-HD2 for the time being, while EMF will consider its options and take proposals to maintain the public radio programming for the West Palm Beach market.

American Public Media Group (APMG) and Classical South Florida (CSF) have agreed to sell CSF’s stations – including WPBI – to Educational Media Foundation (EMF). American Public Media Group (APMG), Classical South Florida (CSF) and Educational Media Foundation (EMF) are working together to temporarily continue to provide public radio news programming over-the-air on WPBI News (now WFLV HD2) and 101.9 FM, West Palm Beach, and www.wpbinews.org. APMG supports EMF’s consideration of options and proposals to maintain public radio programming in West Palm Beach going forward.

The decision to sell our stations in South Florida is painful and deeply disappointing for everyone involved. With your help, we’ve been working to build Classical South Florida for nearly eight years. Despite our best efforts and significant investments, and your Membership gifts, we’ve not succeeded in providing the distinctive value that will earn the support needed to sustain this service.

Update 7/13: The Miami Herald reports that Educational Media Foundation will begin operating the Classical South Florida properties via LMA on Friday, July 17.

The move will bring EMF’s “K-Love” programming to Miami and West Palm Beach for the first time on 89.7 WKCP Miami and 90.7 WPBI West Palm Beach respectively. With the primary network already heard on 98.5 WLVO Fort Myers, we’d expect 88.7 WNPS Fort Myers and 101.9 W270AD West Palm Beach to launch the Christian CHR “Air 1” network to those markets.

Update 7/8: Current.org reports that Educational Media Foundation will pay $21.7 million for Classical South Florida’s three stations and one translator once the deal is filed with the FCC.

Current states that EMF made the offer to American Public Media on May 27 with a one-day deadline to accept and a confidentiality clause disallowing any attempts to seek other bids during the 45 day due-diligence period. The board of the stations voted confidentially on the sale on June 25, however half of the board has since resigned due to displeasure with the deal.

Classical South Florida owns Classical 89.7 WKCP Miami, 90.7 WPBI West Palm Beach, 88.7 WNPS Fort Myers and Public News/Talk “WPBI News” 101.9 W270AD West Palm Beach/WPBI-HD2. The Current report states that the network has lost between $1 million and $3 million every year since its inception in 2008. American Public Media’s Minnesota Public Radio and Southern California Public Radio were profitable in 2014.

Original Report 6/24: Educational Media Foundation’s “K-Love” brand is poised to enter the Miami and West Palm Beach Markets.

The Palm Beach Post reports that Classical South Florida will hold a board meeting on Thursday, June 25th to vote on a deal to sell their stations to EMF for an undisclosed amount. A subsidiary of American Public Media, the group owns Classical 89.7 WKCP Miami, 90.7 WPBI West Palm Beach, 88.7 WNPS Fort Myers and Public News/Talk “WPBI News” 101.9 W270AD West Palm Beach/WPBI-HD2.

The Post reports that some members are trying to find additional suitors for the stations including Miami’s WLRN Public Media in order to retain their current formats. W270AD is the only Public News/Talk and NPR affiliate in the West Palm Beach market and is a major point of contention for the board members.

EMF entered the Fort Myers market last fall with the acquisition of 98.5 WDEO-FM (Now WLVO) from Ave Maria University.

Profile photo of Lance Venta
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.

20 Comments

  1. Profile photo of joseph_gallant


    This would likely mean the end of classical music on analog radio in South Florida.

    Hopefully, someone else will buy these stations and keep them classical.

  2. Profile photo of Mike704


    This group is like the Borg assimilating stations all over the country turning them into nothing but relay stations. This is way too much power held by one group. There were reasons for ownership limits. The big groups are destroying radio and no one seems to care.

    • Profile photo of WeNeverKnew


      One might be more willing to give you that point *if* the American Public Media stations had never relayed any satellite programming and instead carried unique live and local programming at each individual frequency they operate.

      The facts are American Public Media owns “52 public radio stations and 43 translators in the Upper Midwest, California and Florida” and boasts that “…more than 900 stations carry American Public Media’s 20-plus national programs.” As the headline reads on their website, “We’re everywhere you listen” with 18 million listeners each week.

      http://www.americanpublicmedia.org

      • Profile photo of Mike704


        Point Taken “We Never Knew” but we are looking at “Classical South Florida” a 4 station regional group compared to K-Love’s 440 stations, which all carry the same programming.

        • Profile photo of WeNeverKnew


          But we’re not. It’s 4 stations out of 95 (96 if you count yesterday’s APM pickup in Duluth) operated by a satellite program provider who boasts of relaying programming to 18 million listeners on twice as many stations as K-Love operates. I’m sorry but other than music programmed, I don’t see a lot of difference between the two. This isn’t like the Jones College stations in Jacksonville that K-Love took over last year.

          And bluntly, there’s no real reason for K-Love and Air1 to enter those markets. They’re already well served by the Way-FM and Call-FM stations. This strikes me as little more than EMF seeing donor dollars going to two established long time local broadcast ministries and wanting a share of the collection plate.

          Where’d I read about someone “reaping where thou hast not sown?”

    • Profile photo of K.M. Richards


      I know how to stop EMF, but it would literally take an act of Congress.

      Repeal the loophole that allows EMF to operate its full-power stations without having a main studio in their community of license.

      I’m tired of EMF snapping up stations left and right, especially the ones in the commercial section of the FM band. Translators are bad enough, but take a look at the signal they got in Santa Barbara CA by swapping for a construction permit (!) in Oregon with Cumulus:
      http://www.bing.com/maps/?mapurl=https://transition.fcc.gov/fcc-bin/contourplot.kml?gmap=3%26appid=1543471%26call=KYGA%26freq=97.5%26contour=54%26city=GOLETA%26state=CA.kml

      • Profile photo of WeNeverKnew


        Are you suggesting that Christian radio should be ghettoed to the non-com end of the dial?

        • Profile photo of K.M. Richards


          No, only the ones who have an exemption from playing by the same rules (main studio, etc.) as everyone else.

          • Profile photo of WeNeverKnew


            So what constitutes a main studio? A room, a mixer, a mic, a PC server? You’re talking about adding a small rent payment and a few hundred bucks in a one time added equipment expenditure. For a group that’s shown itself to be capable of spending millions for a new signal, that added cost is a drop in the bucket. So aren’t you really suggesting that they be forced to add local staff, not just a room?

          • Profile photo of aaronread


            A main studio also has staff requirements during business hours: one manager, and one employee. THAT’S where the costs get ya.

          • Profile photo of WeNeverKnew


            For some reason, I’m unable to reply directly to aaronread’s comment, so here it is:

            That’s my point. The key IS adding staff. Remember that EMF already has staff in regional locations. This is about expanding beyond the few regional offices they now have. But how much is enough? Do they need staff in every city where they own a station? No. Example? Indianapolis. K-Love and Air1 morning shows originate there. There is a regional production person at that location. Could that regional office serve Indpls, Muncie and Lafayette for example? Or a Cincinnati office that covers Dayton and Portsmouth. Lexington covers Louisville and Somerset. I’d have no trouble with that. Sorry I didn’t make it clear.

          • Profile photo of Eva


            I always considered KLove a virus. One area I used to live in, there was 6 spots on the dial you could get their signal. Where I’m at now, I used to listen to a country station that was distant, now a dumb EMF repeater popped up on that freq.

          • Profile photo of WeNeverKnew


            But if K-Love didn’t have that translator, someone else would. You’d likely have a niche music format or AM station translator still blocking your favorite distant country station. No matter what, that distant station would still be gone.

            For a radio geek like me who counts every distant signal, no matter how weak, it’s easy for K-Love’s multiple frequencies to be seen as a virus. North of Indianapolis, you can hear three K-Love frequencies. Yet to most, there’s only one, the Indianapolis K-Love station. Those fringe Elwood and Lafayette stations skipped by the seek button on a car radio don’t exist to most listeners.

            Where I now live, I hear the same music via Premium Choice presented on multiple iHeart stations. Country. Classic Hits. Hot AC. One is the local market signal. The other from another market over. To the average radio listener, that next market over isn’t important. It’s only about the music as it’s presented locally. It’s not about where or how that music plays, just that it does. Has the average listener ever give a whit as to a main studio rule?

            Should there be a radio service to meet every listeners musical taste? No matter how big or small the audience? Perhaps in a perfect world. But this isn’t it. As I’ve said, with Way-FM and Call-Fm in place in south Florida, I personally see no need for K-Love or Air-1 there. But that certainly doesn’t mean that I want some CRTC government bureaucrat telling radio what format they can or cannot air.

            My all time favorite radio format was MOR. I loved the mix of news and information combined with music and DJ personality. To me, that was intelligent presentation. NBC’s Monitor was radio nirvana. And foolish me, I also loved the easy listening and oldies formats. Hard as it may be, I’ve had to accept that with radio as with everything there is a season. The market makes the choice. That choice means that my favorite formats are no more.

            As such, outside of what I see as perhaps a needless desire to move into markets where the format is already well presented, I really don’t have a problem with K-Love expanding as it has. There’s clearly an audience for their music. CCM outsells Jazz, outsells classical. If radio is about serving the public, more are served by a CCM station, than by the formats traditionally presented by public radio.

            If there isn’t a problem with multiple country stations or multiple CHR stations or multiple Urban or Sports or Talk stations, then don’t we have to ask (or with my thoughts about K-Love, should that more specifically be “don’t I have to ask”) why is there a problem with multiple CCM stations?

            So, maybe it is okay for K-Love to be moving into south Florida. What’s that about “iron sharpening iron?”

  3. Profile photo of charles57


    It’s the same old song with a new lyric, one that carries a whiff of religious bigotry.

    Palm Beach is a “dead zone” for highbrow radio because the well-to-do who would support such a station live there only in the winter. The local PBS couldn’t make a go of it in radio, so it sold 90.7 to APM. Now APM realizes it’s in a bad situation and wants to get out.

    And for all the EMF-bashing on this website, few acknowledge that Christian Pop has become a major music genre in the U.S.

    • Profile photo of WeNeverKnew


      I was involved in CCM from the mid 1980s — I’ve done radio, concert promotion, even a brief involvement with an early CCM video TV show. Some of my best friends radio carry stations like KLTY, Z88.3 and Radio U on their resumes. (Full disclosure: I have friends who’ve worked for Way-FM. I’ve met Bob Augsburg. I’ve also spent time talking with Dick Jenkins and Mike Novak.) Bottom line, I’ve watched and I’ve rejoiced at the growth of the CCM genre.

      Now, perhaps I’m once again showing a blindness to that whole “pride cometh before a fall” thing, but I personally don’t see it as bigotry to question whether a K-Love and Air1 presence in south Florida is needed. I think it’s a valid question. It’s a needed question. Is EMF moving into Ft. Myers, West Palm and Miami needed? I personally don’t see where that exists. And I’m sorry Charles, but I have no trouble asking and I’d hope EMF would both want and understand the question.

      • Profile photo of Eric Jon Magnuson


        Maybe another way to look at this is: Is MPR/APM so desperate to sell here that it would go straight to what may be the go-to or even default buyer in these cases? In other words: Is this more a case of EMF wanting to buy, or of MPR/APM wanting to exit quickly?

        • Profile photo of WeNeverKnew


          I hear you and I have to ask. Just because a frequency is available and just because you have the money, does that that mean they have to buy? Again, I don’t see where the need exists for satellite K-Love or Air1 to duplicate what others have long been locally providing in those markets. There’s only so much support to be found and this move troubles me when you consider that K-Love’s support will likely be at the expense of support for Way and Call.

  4. Profile photo of Destructor


    “Current states that EMF made the offer to American Public Media on May 27 with a one-day deadline to accept and a confidentiality clause disallowing any attempts to seek other bids during the 45 day due-diligence period. The board of the stations voted confidentially on the sale on June 25, however half of the board has since resigned due to displeasure with the deal.”

    EMF confuses me.

  5. Profile photo of radioperson


    Sadly, classical music radio can not survive in ANY form in certain parts of the country denying its culture and intelligent presentation to thousands of people.

    More religious stations? Yah, just what we need!

    How many are in South Florida? I’ve lost count.

  6. Profile photo of JayR


    The Classical South Florida stream is airing a message in a loop thanking its listeners and directing them to listen at YourClassical.org

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