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Jan 14 2016

WZUM to be sold to Pgh. Public Media

ppm_logo_golda smallPittsburgh Public Media today announced the acquisition of WZUM -AM (1550 Braddock) from AM Guys LLC for $75,000, with the signing of Letter of Intent and Asset Purchase Agreement.

“This is the next step in our growth” says Charles H Leavens, President of Pittsburgh Public Media. “It feels good to begin to bring the spirit of community service and Jazz back to Pittsburgh” says Leavens, who was previously Chief Engineer and voice of WDUQ, and a veteran of other Pittsburgh radio and television stations.

When asked about the station acquisition, Leavens added, “It’s an established AM station with a superior signal, and in keeping with our financially sound policy, allows us to grow without taking on a huge debt. That leaves us in a better position to serve the community, and that is what we are all about.”

Leavens also plans enhancements to WZUM’s coverage in the near future. “The FCC has opened several opportunities for FM translators just for stations like WZUM. Pittsburgh Public Media plans to take advantage of these opportunities,” he adds.

Pittsburgh Public Media is now waiting for FCC approval, which takes several months, before the station sale is fully completed.

Pittsburgh Public Media also operates WYZR-FM (88.1 Bethany WV( which covers the Ohio Valley and is heard in the South Hills and western suburbs of Pittsburgh. It is slated for a 10,000 watt power increase. Pittsburgh Public Media purchased WYZR in 2013 for $135,000 from Bethany College.

Pittsburgh Public Media delivers programming in association with locally-based PubMusic, which distributes music
programming via the NPR satellite system. PubMusic reaches over 14 million listeners nationwide via local public
radio affiliate stations.

4 comments

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  1. Dennis47

    Not happy about this at all. 1550 was a great station for the urban oldies. I live in Springfield Illinois and could pick it up around 2-5pm. Gonna miss it.

  2. Boomer The Dog

    Good news! It was one thought I had when they lost their signal at 90.5 FM, why not try to get an AM signal? There’s nothing wrong with jazz on AM, and it would bring some non-denominational entertainment back to that side of the dial.

    I live in Greentree, at 10 miles from their antenna, and at the 2.5 mv contour as seen on radio-locator. Their high frequency signal is pretty good in the car, not as affected by power lines and noise as some lower frequency signals are. By day it’s a good signal.

    I hope PPM gets approved for the station, and I have a request coming from a radio nerd: CQUAM AM Stereo. With their non-directional antenna, it might be as easy as turning it on and having a stereo audio feed going in.

    Boomer

  3. Boomer The Dog

    That\’s true.. I would have liked to see WZUM continue as it was the only all soul station in Pittsburgh. My excitement wasn\’t about the station going off air, just that another format that\’s been duplicated everywhere won\’t be going in, something that lacks.soul.

    WZUM\’s owners gave it a good try, excited about every small detail of getting the station on its feet after they got it. It seemed like fun and a great learning experience for them. Trouble was, it didn\’t get out of beta and off of automation.

    That did disappoint me, but then I\’m biased, hoping for a return of the old school WZUM sound and it\’s off the wall hippie DJ staff, rather than the simple, methodical format of soul they\’ve been doing on the new Zoom. They didn\’t find a program director who was into the music, with time to work it out and take that leadership role, so the station was in limbo and with little change, that\’s my idea.

    I\’m totally glad they didn\’t go for syndicated programming and kept it in house if they had to, I just would have liked to hear some real voices, someone with a show where you could call or write in. Apparently they didn\’t get their local studio finished.

    The way I see it, it\’s a soul station, so the delivery should come from the heart and soul also..

    There\’s been a hole in Pittsburgh jazz since the college sold WDUQ, our former big signal FM jazz station. I do filming with a friend at jazz concerts at clubs sometimes, and jazz fans were always talking about the loss of DUQ. It\’s kind of caused an unease and placelessness among fans, where before you used to be able to check in and hear announcements of concerts happening every night by Tony and Bob, and lots of music, now that was suddenly gone from the airwaves. Hopefully the new AM signal will be something to rally around and will show the determination of the team down at Jazz 88!

    Boomer

  4. Pat Cloonan

    Just for what it is worth, Bethany’s FM 88.1 normally should not reach the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh, given the usual presence of WRWJ-88.1 out of Murrysville (now off the air), but on Thursday night I picked it up clear as a bell outside the North Versailles township municipal building (just east of the WZUM/WAMO tower in Forest Hills), then a short time later I caught it with a bit of interference outside the North Huntingdon township municipal building. Ironically, the North Versailles site would have been the location for the FM 92.3 tower as proposed by Tri-Borough Communications, but that LPFM proposal ran into all sorts of difficulties before the FCC rejected it, most notably that it was too close to the University of Pittsburgh’s WPTS-92.1.

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