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WBOC-TV Acquires Joy 102.5 Salisbury, MD

Joy 102.5 WOLC-FM Princess Anne Salisbury Ocean City WBOC-TV 16 Draper HoldingsWBOC will pay $650,000 for WOLC.

Marantha has stated it will take WOLC dark on Tuesday, August 18 until the sale to WBOC closes later this year to allow the station’s equipment to be moved into the television station’s building.

Original Report 8/13: Draper Holdings, the owner of CBS affiliate WBOC-TV Salisbury, MD, is entering the radio industry with the purchase of Christian AC “Joy 102.5” WOLC-FM Princess Anne, MD from Marantha, Inc.

Draper will flip WOLC-FM to an undetermined secular format upon closing of the sale. They have retained a consultancy to help determine a format which will utilize the WBOC brand. WOLC-FM operates with 50kW at 152 meters and covers much of the central Delmarva Peninsula (Coverage Map).

WBOC-TV is the CBS affiliate for the Salisbury/Ocean City market. It also operates a Fox affiliate “Fox 21” on its DTV subchannel. A purchase price for the station has yet to be released.

WBOC, which began serving the Delmarva Peninsula 75 years ago as WBOC-AM radio, is returning to its roots with the acquisition of WOLC 102.5 FM from Maranatha, Inc. The purchase was announced today by WBOC-TV Vice President & General Manager Craig Jahelka.

“We are humbled by the trust people on Delmarva put in us every day” says Jahelka. “We’re dedicated to providing the best news, weather, information and entertainment available. With the addition of 102.5 FM we will be able to serve our audience and advertisers anytime and anywhere on Delmarva, even when they’re in their vehicles, on a boat or operating a combine.”

WBOC-AM, originally owned by Peninsula Broadcasting, signed on the air seventy-five years ago on September 13, 1940 and expanded to television in July 1954. In 1980, current owner Thomas H. Draper, CEO & President of Draper Holdings, purchased the stations. It is also a return to radio for him. “My start in broadcasting began in 1967 at WTHD in Milford,” says Draper. “I’ve come full circle with the addition of WOLC. The fifty-thousand watt signal can be heard across much of Delmarva and is a perfect fit for our family and our company.”

“We’ve retained the services of a firm which specializes in radio programming,” says Jahelka. “So while we haven’t yet decided on a format for 102.5, I can promise the station will reflect the WBOC brand, serving our family, friends and neighbors here on the peninsula.”

“After a long season of prayer and discussion a decision has been made to sell the 102.5 frequency,” said Gordon Marsh, President of Maranatha, Inc. “We are very pleased to be able to work with WBOC, an organization which is both trusted and respected here. Maranatha, Inc. will continue to operate as the Christian Leadership and Community Foundation, established to provide and build leadership and support within the Christian community.”

The sale, contingent upon regulatory approval, is expected to close later this year. WBOC-TV is owned and operated by Draper Holdings, which also owns FOX21, WBOC Classics, wboc.com and Loblolly LLC.

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.

8 Comments

  1. Profile photo of joseph_gallant


    I would guess that WOLC-102.5 will become a news/talk format under the call letters WBOC-FM, with simulcasts of the sound portions of WBOC-16/”Fox 21″ newscasts.

    • Profile photo of charles57


      The Eastern Shore has plenty of talk radio already. WICO is the local Limbaugh/Hannity affiliate. Delmarva Public Radio has a signal with NPR news and eclectic music. WXDE targets lower Delaware. Plus there are relays of the NPR outlets from Baltimore and D.C.

      Wild guesses are one thing. Acting like a troll is another.

  2. Profile photo of joseph_gallant


    But how much of that market’s talk radio is local??

    WBOC-FM could air local mid-day talk shows between audio simulcasts of WBOC-TV news in early morning and later-afternoon (until 6:30 P.M.), along with a simulcast of the TV side’s Noon newscast.

  3. Profile photo of Eric Jon Magnuson


    I’m of two minds about how well Talk would work here. Yes, there are a lot of spoken-word outlets, both commercial and non-commercial; the latter also includes, for the most part, WESM and, arguably, WHRX (the furthest-north relay of Hampton Roads’ WHRV). However, many of the commercial outlets are on smaller signals (often, Class A FMs)–and some (e.g., WGMD) are much stronger in southern Delaware than within Maryland.

    WOLC, though, is a Class B that’s firmly within Maryland–which, ironically, might be too strong or valuable of a signal for a brand-new Talk station. Still, if anyone could pull it off, it’d be WBOC’s owners. (Along those lines, WBOC’s main competition [WMDT] appears to have some sort of content agreement with WICO.)

    • Profile photo of charles57


      Salisbury is the commercial hub for a mostly rural region of 400,000. You can’t have a “Live And Local” fetish in a region that’s mostly rural — the advertising base is just not there. And TV broadcasters are not spendthrift, which is why the Joy 102.5 studio gear will be moved into the WBOC building as Lance said.

      BTW, somehow I forgot about WGMD, which is the Rush Limbaugh affiliate in lower Delaware.

  4. Profile photo of Christian


    102.5 is one of very few full Class B stations in the Delmarva area. I think classic hits would be a good format for that stick.

  5. Profile photo of Eric Jon Magnuson


    While I can’t confirm it directly, a new story (at http://www.delmarvanow.com/story/news/local/maryland/2015/08/17/wolc-final-show-wboc/31873775) mentions that Joy’s last broadcast was planned for this morning. Also, it looks like there were some major financial issues–with Joy operating with only two full-time staff for the past few months.

    • Profile photo of charles57


      Joy 102.5 did confirm, through a Facebook post, that station revenue had declined for several years and led to the sale to Draper.

      Oddly, Maranatha Inc. has not [yet] updated the Joy 102.5 website to announce the station has signed off.

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