WBRU may be going up for sale soon

RI Community Forums Northeast Rhode Island WBRU may be going up for sale soon

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This topic contains 10 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of coughitup coughitup 4 days, 23 hours ago.

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  • #172968
    Profile photo of DavidZ
    DavidZ
    Participant
    #172982
    Profile photo of joseph_gallant
    Joseph_Gallant
    Participant

    I could see five possible buyers for WBRU-95.5:

    (1) The only large commercial broadcaster which I think would be able to buy ‘BRU would be a merged CBS/Entercom, which would but 95.5 to use it as the Providence affiliate of a regional sports radio network out of a combined WEEI/Sports Hub out of Boston (probably broadcasting at 98.5 under the WEEI call letters), replacing the current WVEI-103.7. WBRU’s transmitter is just east of Providence; WVEI’s is southwest of the city and might not be all that strong well north of Providence where ‘BRU’s signal is strong.

    (2) One other commercial broadcaster who might buy 95.5 is Davidson Media, who I could see buying 95.5 to move their Spanish-language format of WKKB-100.3 to 95.5. It would give ‘KKB a much larger signal area.

    The other three who I can see as buying ‘BRU are all noncommercial:

    (3) One would be Rhode Island Public Radio, who could use 95.5 to replace the current patchwork of stations broadcasting the network’s public radio news/information programming.

    (4) Another potential noncommercial buyer might be Boston’s WGBH, who would use 95.5 to replace WJHF-88.7 as the Providence affiliate of their Classical New England service. Additionally, the 95.5 signal is good even into Boston’s southern suburbs, which could help Classical New England since the transmitter of ti’s flagship (WCRB-99.5) is well north of Boston.

    (5) But I have a sneaky feeling that EMF will step into the picture, buy WBRU, and flip it to yet another K-Love affiliate. Not only would K-Love get a strong signal in all of Rhode Island, but they’d also penetrate southeastern Massachusetts and the southern suburbs of Boston.

    Given their huge debt loads, I doubt either iHeart of Cumulus would be able to buy 95.5……unless they would sell-off an existing FM station they own in the market (to recoup at least part of the purchase price of 95.5) and move the programming of the station they sell-off to 99.5.

    In the case of iHeart, I could see this happen to WWBB-0101.5, with 101.5 being sold-off and “B-101” becoming “B-95.5”.

    In the case of Cumulus, I could see this happen to WEAN-99.7 (which simulcasts WPRO-630) with WEAN moving to the stronger 95.5 signal.

    #173010
    Profile photo of Jeff Lehmann
    Jeff Lehmann
    Participant

    95.5 combined with 89.3, the current WUMD would be overkill for RI NPR, but I wouldn’t put it past them. They could always later sell off 89.3, since 95.5 is obviously the better signal where they want to cover most, Providence.

    100.3 WKKB is no longer owned by Davidson, it’s owned by Red Wolf (Fuller) these days.

    The only group owner I’d personally like to see end up with it would be Hall. Hopefully they’re smart and don’t decide to sell though.

    #173013
    Profile photo of kent
    kent
    Participant

    If I’m Hall Communications, I’m interested in 95.5 to get WCTK a better stick.

    Of course, if you get the ratings WCTK gets at 98.1, it’s hard to think of much else that could get those numbers on a stick that citygrades half of Providence.

    #173025
    Profile photo of charles57
    Charles Everett
    Participant

    95.5 combined with 89.3, the current WUMD would be overkill for RI NPR, but I wouldn’t put it past them.

    RIPR is not buying any facilities in the commercial band. In fact, RIPR’s planned purchase of WUMD is on hold at the FCC because of a petition to deny, which was filed by a volunteer disc jockey at that radio station.

    If I’m Hall Communications, I’m interested in 95.5 to get WCTK a better stick.

    Hall has a New Bedford cluster, not a Providence cluster.

    #173028
    Profile photo of Eric Jon Magnuson
    Eric Jon Magnuson
    Participant

    Here are a couple more stories…

    http://turnto10.com/news/local/wbru-may-be-going-up-for-sale-soon

    http://www.browndailyherald.com/2017/03/03/wbru-seeks-buyer-as-sales-fall

    If the station does go up for sale, my initial hunch is that a larger commercial operator (including Entercom) would be most likely to end up being the buyer–as it would probably become too expensive for non-commercial operators (including EMF) or smaller commercial groups (such as Hall, even though it almost certainly would like a better signal for WCTK).

     

    #173039
    Profile photo of Jeff Lehmann
    Jeff Lehmann
    Participant

    Hall has a New Bedford cluster, not a Providence cluster.

    No, they consider it Providence, as that’s where the studios are.
    #173040
    Profile photo of Jeff Lehmann
    Jeff Lehmann
    Participant

    Also, when has a petition to deny ever worked? I’m sure RINPR will end up with WUMD. They already have 102.7 , so they’re obviously not opposed to buying in the commercial band.

    #173048
    Profile photo of kent
    kent
    Participant

    From what I understand, Hall considers Providence and New Bedford/Fall River to be the same region.  I’m not really sure how that works.  They can sell WLKW and WNBH separately, but radio has never been bought regionally.  So, I don’t know how that would work for WCTK, but I’d guess the bulk of its business was Providence.

    When I was in Kansas City, most of the market’s stations showed up in Topeka, but they did little more than depress the Topeka stations’ revenues.  No Topeka company ever advertised on KC radio that I know, and KC stations wouldn’t lower their rates for Topeka.  Killeen/Temple and Waco, TX have somewhat regional system, but the ad buys are done based on local numbers for each market.  With both being a similar size, the rates are similar.  So, it works.  I’d have to think Providence is a lot more like KC than Waco.

    #173052
    Profile photo of Eric Jon Magnuson
    Eric Jon Magnuson
    Participant

    From what I understand, Hall considers Providence and New Bedford/Fall River to be the same region. I’m not really sure how that works. They can sell WLKW and WNBH separately, but radio has never been bought regionally. So, I don’t know how that would work for WCTK, but I’d guess the bulk of its business was Providence. When I was in Kansas City, most of the market’s stations showed up in Topeka, but they did little more than depress the Topeka stations’ revenues. No Topeka company ever advertised on KC radio that I know, and KC stations wouldn’t lower their rates for Topeka. Killeen/Temple and Waco, TX have somewhat regional system, but the ad buys are done based on local numbers for each market. With both being a similar size, the rates are similar. So, it works. I’d have to think Providence is a lot more like KC than Waco.

    Unless something major has changed recently, New Bedford/Fall River is what’s known as an “embedded” metro–i.e., inside of another market (in this case, Providence).  In other words, the territory that makes up New Bedford/Fall River is also within the Providence metro.  Most of the other embedded metros are around New York City–and the only current case outside of the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic is San Jose (within San Francisco).

    The other examples that you mention are metros that border each other and have several stations that are strong enough to be heard in parts of the other (neighboring) metro.  There are cases (usually involving neighboring metros within the same DMA) where there’s a significant amount of overlap in marketing and even ownership–e.g., Harrisburg/Lebanon/Carlisle, York, and Lancaster; Green Bay and Appleton/Oshkosh; Flint and Saginaw/Bay City/Midland; and Colorado Springs and Pueblo.

     

    #173326
    Profile photo of coughitup
    coughitup
    Participant

    That would be a shame!  ‘BRU has been a haven for alternative rock for years.

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