WAMO-FM (106.7) and sisters WAMO-AM (860) and WPGR-AM (1510) are being sold. The pending deal between Sheridan Broadcasting and St. Joseph Missions became public Friday. The Post-Gazette reports the sale for $8.9 million and has yet to be approved by the FCC. Sheridan Broadcasting owner Ron Davenport, Sr. has owned WAMO-FM and AM since 1973 and bought WPGR in 2001.
WAMO spokesman Russell Bynum released the limited details yesterday saying that this was a difficult but necessary decision on the part of the owners, yet he denied that ths sale meant the company was in trouble. “When we look at Sheridan, we are looking at a strong organization that has had to make these changes to adapt to the movement and the changes in the marketplace, he told the Post-Gazette. Sheridan will continue to be based in Pittsburgh and still owns stations in Atlanta, Georgia, Birmingham, Alabama and Buffalo, New York. The company is also the principal owner of the American Urban Radio Networks – the only African-American-owned radio network in the US.
The deal is expected to go through later in the summer and the formats should remain in place until that time. Out of the 35 full and part-time station employees, some workers will be let go, but those working for the larger Sheridan Broadcasting may keep their jobs. As for station listeners, Mr. Bynum warns that it won’t do any good to write letters. “This is a business decisicion,” he said stating that the marketplace determines what will happen to the business and the industry changes with the time. Additionally, he said that part of the reason for the sale is because radio listenership is measured “with a disproportionate impact on minority formats.” Sheridan had been looking for a minority buyer but none could raise the funding needed.
Mr. Bynum felt that someone would fill the void with the Urban format once the stations were sold.
Nothing more could be said about St. Joseph’s Missions other than the group is “religious-oriented.”
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