Saga Communications will begin operating 92.7 WUVA via Time Brokerage Agreement on Wednesday, February 1.
As part of the FCC filings for the deal, Saga also applies to move the station from the current tower it shares with University of Virginia’s 91.1 WTJU to the adjacent tower used by Saga AAA “106.1 The Corner” WCNR Keswick with 610w/311m.
Update 1/20: Saga will pay $1.65 million for WUVA.
Additionally, WUVA General Manager David Mitchell told Cavalier Daily to expect a continuation of Country programming on the station. He told the paper, “In this case, a country product with a great signal completes Saga’s market portfolio. I would expect a country continuance.”
Original Report 1/17: Saga Communications is acquiring WUVA Inc.’s Country “92.7 Nash Icon” WUVA Charlottesville VA for an undisclosed amount.
WUVA Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit owned and operated by University of Virginia students and alumni to train students in commercial radio operation. The funds from the sale of the station will go to fund its digital and video journalism platform WUVANews.com as it evolves with modern communications.
Saga will not retain the WUVA call letters. The station will become Saga’s sixth in the Charlottesville market.
After operating a Charlottesville radio station for 70 years, including 37 years as a commercial FM station, today the University of Virginia student-owned media organization, WUVA, Inc., announced that it has agreed to sell its radio station WUVA-FM 92.7 to Saga Communications, Inc. (NYSE – MKT: SGA).
WUVA, Inc., owned and operated by University of Virginia students since 1947, will continue to serve the University and Charlottesville communities through its growing online news platform, WUVANews.com (http://wuvanews.com/). Launched in 2011, WUVA News has become a leading source of journalism on Grounds, producing high-quality written and video news content.
“It certainly is bittersweet to transition out of FM radio. But on behalf of WUVA’s student leadership, I’m very excited to focus on completing our transition to a digital-first news organization with expanded production capabilities – and now with an endowment to support our future,” said Kailey Leinz (College ’17), WUVA President. “We will remain a strong, independent editorial voice at the University of Virginia.”
“WUVA has a rich tradition as a broadcaster and as a training ground for scores of leaders in media over its history,” said Edward Swindler, WUVA Alumni Board Member (College ‘76, Grad A&S ’82, Darden ’84) and a 32-year NBC Universal executive. “The sale proceeds will endow our digital news organization, enable us to modernize our reporting and delivery, and reach the UVA and Charlottesville communities on more relevant platforms. Our focus on digital video will also better prepare graduating students to compete and lead in a rapidly-evolving media environment.”
“A fiscally secure and expanded WUVA News will also cooperate more closely with the University of Virginia’s renowned Media Studies Department and emerging Center for Media and Citizenship,” said Richard Marks (College ’66), General Counsel for WUVA. The Center was co-founded by WUVA and the Media Studies Department in 2012 with a grant from the Jefferson Trust. “Our thanks to the University and Charlottesville communities for their continued support of WUVA as we evolve our media strategy for the 21st century.”
“It’s been an honor to serve Charlottesville as a commercial FM radio station. We know Saga Communications will be a worthy steward of our FM facility, as it has a long tradition as an outstanding local broadcaster,” said David Mitchell, General Manager of WUVA-FM, 92.7 Nash Icon. “Saga’s ownership of 92.7 FM will benefit Charlottesville’s listeners, the entire University of Virginia community, and 92.7 FM’s advertisers.”
Edward K. Christian, President and Chief Executive Officer of Saga Communications, said, “We have enjoyed working with everybody at WUVA, Inc. and are looking forward to adding the station to our radio group, allowing us to expand our service to the Charlottesville community. Saga intends to continue building its business in both the radio and television markets by identifying and acquiring middle market stations.”
WUVA’s sale to Saga is subject to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approval. The sale is expected to close in early 2017. As a part of the agreement, WUVA will retain all rights to the “WUVA” trademark and all assets related to the operation of WUVA News.
As a non-profit corporation, WUVA, Inc. will continue to raise funds for its investments in local journalism and the training of University of Virginia students in video and print journalism and media operations. Donations to the Campaign for WUVA News to support its operations and endowment for the future can be made at: http://wuva-fm.com/campaign-for-wuva/.