Bob Jones University Sells 94.5 WMUU Greenville To Salem

94.5 WMUU Greenville Spartanburg Bob Jones University Gospel Fellowship Association Salem The AnswerBob Jones University’s Gospel Fellowship Association has announced the sale of Christian 94.5 WMUU Greenville SC to Salem Communications.

The station, which airs a mix of Preaching and Christian and Secular Beautiful Music will flip to Conservative Talk according to the letter published below. Said format will use Salem Radio Network programming and other syndicated hosts. The move will put the station in direct competition with Entercom’s “Newsradio WORD” triumlcast (950 WORD, 1330 WYRD, and 106.3 WYRD-FM). The 94.5 signal will give Salem a potential advantage as its 100kW at 454 meters gives it one of the best signals in the market. Most of Salem’s Conservative Talk programs currently air on Radio Training Network’s “Christian Talk 660” WLFJ/92.9 W225AZ.

Salem will continue to provide the current format online.

The following letter was sent by University Chancellor Robert Jones III in regards to the sale:

For several weeks, the GFA executive committee–which is comprised of some local GFA board members–has been wrestling with the decision to sell WMUU (which is wholly owned by GFA). After prayer and discussion, we have entered into an agreement for the sale.

GFA is a worldwide-Gospel-furthering organization. The radio station was a very expensive local manifestation of our mission. We believe the proceeds from this sale will enable GFA to better accomplish its objectives for spreading the Gospel.

The distressing part to us in all this is the effect on our local/nationwide loyal listening audience, who will feel like this is the death of a loved one. There will be an on-air announcement of the sale on Friday when the audience will hear from the new owner (Salem Radio Network) about the new format. It will not be religious–it will be news/talk. For those who want the current WMUU programming, the new owner will be providing it via live streaming through the Internet. Of course, that will be available to anyone anywhere in the world who has a computer.

Considering that terrestrial-based radio is coming to the point where it is being diminished as the way people receive their news, information, music, etc., when someone recently walked in off the street and requested to buy the station, we felt that we had to walk down that road until it happened or until the door closed. Some on the board had discussed the possibility of selling it while it still had value, but I had no leading from the Lord about it. I did start praying three years ago that if the Lord wanted it to sell that someone would walk in who wanted to buy it. The station was established in 1947 and was previously owned by Bob Jones University. In all of these years, to my knowledge, no one has ever surfaced with money in hand to buy the station. A couple of months ago, however, that happened. Since I had been telling the Lord that I would listen if that happened, I had no choice but to bring that offer before the executive committee so that they could make their decision. In the process of pursuing this, he (the one making the offer) discussed the matter with a friend of his (the owner of Salem), and Salem then stepped in and said that they would like to make an offer, which was considered by the executive committee and deemed to be the better offer.

The executive board has asked Salem Radio Network to draw up contracts, which are now in the hands of the attorneys. Because of the new format–news/talk–and because the presidential election lends itself to a lot of material for a format like that, they would like to take ownership very soon. That, of course, will depend upon the lawyers.

The vote of the executive committee is unanimous; and as chairman of the board and representative of committee, I would be happy to hear any questions or thoughts from those of you who are receiving this. At the next annual meeting, all of this will have been completed and full details regarding the terms of the sale will be given to you.

Thanks for listening.

Kind regards,

Bob Jones III
Gospel Fellowship Association

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  1. MattParker says

    Full disclosure: The guys who started and run Salem are alumni (and supporters). The sale is in the Bob Jones family.

  2. Christian Davis says

    A sad, sad day when money is more important than the radio preaching ministry. Whatever happened to selling the paintings in the BJU art gallery??? That’s what they used to declare from the chapel pulpit they would do if they ever needed funds.

    1. MattParker says

      Radio preaching IS all about money. Salem (and other broadcasters) charge preachers for air time – often they charge premium rates for times nobody else would buy. And preachers get money from listeners – both sales of premiums or flat out donations – and show a health-profit. All this despite the fact that the audience for these stations is miniscule.
      What kind of preaching are you talking about? This is Bob Jones, the school too extreme even for Billy Graham. This is the school with a long history of racial discrimination and religious bigotry. They are lucky they have a station to sell. They should never have gotten a license.

  3. j says

    Just wondering…..if the prayer was that the Lord would send someone walking in off the street, why wasn’t the station sold to this one that walked in offering to buy the station?? Salem’s offer was the “better offer”, but it did not come from someone walking in off the street. My question: Who’s leading was followed here?

  4. Bob says

    Word on the street is they need money…the school is again laying off more employees too.

  5. Keith L. says

    As long as WMUU has been around, it serves a tiny niche market in the local listening area, and often has to sell advertising to small mom/pop businesses and funeral homes. I believe it’s market share is somewhere in the 4 percent range, whereas the most popular country/rock stations garner anywhere from the 9 to 12 percent range.

    Because of WMUU’s stand against any music with a beat, its advertising often sounds campy, and a few of its announcers clearly do not possess “radio voices”.

    WMUU’s christian music format is purely conservative, which appeals to a very small, older constituency. The station’s secular music is pleasant to have on in the workplace.

  6. Steve says

    They deserve to be sold. What station on this planet recites the Pledge of Allegiance every afternoon? What station reads a 120 year old library book out loud over the air on a daily basis? What station gives the time backwards? “It’s 28 minutes before the hour.” Just say it’s 8:32!!!
    Good riddens!

  7. steve says

    The reality is that they were appraised for almost 25 million several year ago. The general manager of Cox Radio would have purchased for 10 million but they wouldn’t even talk to him. BJ has continued its contemporary slide-Stephen Jones at the helm-and will never be the school that Dr. Bob Sr. started. Dr. Bob Sr. would turn in his grave if he knew how moderate they have become!!!

  8. Michael says

    Today is the first day of the new talk radio programming. At 24 years old, I have listened to WMUU almost daily since I moved to Greenville over a year ago. (I did not go to BJU for my undergrad). I will greatly miss the music format of WMUU. There is not any FM station that I know of anywhere that played pops-orchestra style classics with a consistent blend of instrumental, choral and vocal music of the non-pop genres. They just played nice pleasant stuff, and I appreciated that. And so did the greater Greenville community, especially the seniors of our area.

    Groups such as the Boston Pops Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Mantovani, Norman Luboff choir, Vocal Majority barbershop chorus, “pop” classics from the 50’s, Jim Brickman, Gary Prim, the Chieftians, Celtic Woman, James Galway, the Irish Tenors, and many others.

    And while that is a small niche, it was an important one. The daytime broadcast was refreshing music interspersed with conservative SRN news broadcasts, and generally non-Christian in scope. The evenings were the more religious format, airing the Chapel Hour from BJU, Christian music similar in scope to BBN, and devotional programs.

    “This is the school with a long history of racial discrimination and religious bigotry.” The era of BJU racial discrimination is over. BJU gladly accepts and does not discriminate in any way toward African-American and other races/ethnicities. Yes, it happened, and its not denied, but its done, BJU has issued a public apology, so let move on.

    I find that the whole “sale” idea to be rather disconcerting, since it was just ‘announced’ to the public that it was happening. Nobody really knew that the station was in financial jeopardy, and there was never an impetus to change to a listener-supported format, and relieve the financial burden on GFA. I think that if WMUU would have consistently announced for a period of time going listener-supported, I really think that people would have started individually supporting it because they like it. Yes, the “stream” is still available online, but I would say the majority of the 24/7 listeners are seniors that may not even be Internet savvy enough to know how to stream it, or don’t even have Internet access.

    The saddest part about the whole thing is that I believe that the station could’ve been kept alive, but nothing was ever mentioned about it. They could’ve even tried a mix of listener-support and advertising. Now, there’s no good classic music station to listen to. I’m not into pop, rock, and yes there are some Christian stations (now the only other conservative Christian station is 91.1 BBN-Gaffney). And we already have conservative talk, WORD 106.3. And I can stream WMUU at home, but not in my car, which is where I listened to it most – it was no. 1 on my FM presets.

    And I’m glad they played the national anthem every day at noon, and recited the pledge of allegiance! What other radio station encourages such patriotism? And they played a solid marching band program every Saturday afternoon. Loved it.

    WMUU has been a blessing to the community for many years, and I hope that despite going online only that they will garner support and make it back onto the local airwaves, even if its AM.

    1. Steve says

      Great input. I am an admitted Democrat and not likely what you would brand as a conservative – but I have always enjoyed WMUU, not only for its wonderful music but also for the spiritual guidance it provided daily. It was pretty much apolitical aside from the Phyllis Schlafly segment. We ave enough talk radio yelling and screaming. It was nice to hear an alternative with a reliable spiritual based.

      Now it’s gone. We have another lineup of talking heads. Not what I would have wished for. It was sad to turn it on this morning and instead of hearing beautiful Christmas music, it was yelling heads.


    2. Les Stobbe says

      We and friends are aghast that the transfer to Salem happened just as we were starting to enjoy the Christmas music. There is no other station in the region playing Christmas music–and streaming music on a computer is not how people our age get our music. I remember when Salem started and know their Quincy station in the Boston area well, so I am really disappointed at the switch to talk–which is mostly negative and repeating what anyone can get on Fox on cable. Christian talk radio has stooped to a lot of angry attacking when people need uplifting messages of God’s love and mercy.

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