Cumulus Broadcasting announced today (Nov. 19) that it will pay $230 million in cash, stock and debt assumption to add the Aurora stations to its more than 200 outlets nationwide.
Here's what Cumulus gets for its money:
If we've done our math right, that makes for a tidy $79.5 million profit over two years or so, which is pretty good work for Aurora head Frank Osborn. No word yet, of course, on what changes Cumulus might have in store for these stations; until now, the only holdings Cumulus has had in NERW-land were its stations in Bangor, Maine (and the fringe of its Youngstown, Ohio cluster).
Other shufflings at the cluster include the departures of WTJM (105.1) assistant PD Andy West and sales manager Robin Sloan. Market Manager Andy Rosen adds the GM title at WTJM to his duties, while Scott Elberg shifts to the GM role at WHTZ and WKTU (103.5).
Across town, former WOR Radio Network head Rich Wood has found a new position as senior VP at Talk America, which has just been sold to erstwhile long-distance carrier IDT. Wood will work out of Talk America's new headquarters at IDT's base in Newark, N.J.
And over at Mega's WNNY (1380 New York), the expensive Spanish-language all-news format is giving way to talk outside drivetime; the station is also adding infomercials on the weekends.
Up in Binghamton, we hear WMXW (103.3 Vestal) will join the parade of stations around the country going all-Christmas music well in advance of the holiday; look for "Mix" to begin spinning the Yule tunes Wednesday (Nov. 21), returning to its usual AC diet after the holidays. (Meantime, sister Clear Channeler WINR 680 has relaunched its Web site at http://www.680winr.com to reflect its standards format.)
Up I-81 in Syracuse, Kathy Rowe takes over PD duties at WYYY (94.5), now that Rich Lauber (who remains Y94's operations manager) is handling that role down the hall at WBBS (104.7).
On the fringes of the Salt City, WBGJ (100.3 Sylvan Beach) is transferred from Kevin O'Kane to Wolf Radio, which has been running the new station since its sign-on earlier this year as a Radio Disney simulcast with Syracuse's WOLF (1490).
Here in Rochester, oldies fans have a full-market FM signal again. WBBF-FM (93.3) moved from its old stick south of the city in Avon to its new Fairport-licensed facility (at the WBEE-FM tower in Penfield) at 8 PM last Friday (Nov. 16), and even before the new signal was at full power, it was already an improvement over the old.
We hope at least one or two people in town appreciate the irony here: the tower on Five Mile Line Road was built for the original WBBF-FM (101.3) in 1961 or thereabouts, and while that station evolved into today's WBEE-FM 92.5, the tower is once again home to a "WBBF-FM" signal...
[NERW wonders what will become of WBBF's AM 950 signal now that it's completely overlapped by the FM; meanwhile, those within range of either signal might want to tune in this Saturday (Nov. 24) from 7 till midnight to hear a certain radio-column editor taking requests...]
WBTN has struggled since longtime owner Belva Keyworth sold it and sister WBTN-FM (94.3) to VPR in 1999. The public broadcaster was under political pressure to sell the AM side to maintain local commercial service to Bennington, but Howe was never able to make a success of the little station, which runs 1000 watts by day and just 87 watts at night.
The college says WBTN will stay commercial, with students heavily involved in its operation. WBTN's two remaining employees will stay with the station under college ownership, we hear.
Over at Rutland's "Fox" (WEXP 101.5 Brandon/WVAY 100.7 Wilmington), Andy Waters moves up from nights to be PD/afternoon drive jock, while "Sloppy" Joe Withrow comes on board as assistant PD and music director. Fox GM Jay Gadon is still looking for a new night jock (and filling in on the shift himself!)
Way up north in Pittsburg, the FCC allocated 97.1A, though without setting a date for an auction of the channel.
WMTW is also changing hosts on its morning show; George Campbell will leave at month's end, replaced by Portland Press Herald columnist Bill Nemitz.
Out west, former CHUM GM Brad Phillips is back with the CHUM Group, signing on as GM at newly-acquired CKVU (Channel 10) in Vancouver.
Longtime Pittsburgh morning host Jack Wheeler has found a new job down in Florida, too: he's the new morning man at Orlando/Melbourne simulcast WHOO-WIXC.
The DuBois area will have a new FM signal, eventually: the FCC allocated 95.9A to Sykesville this week, though no auction date was set for the new facility. The addition of the Sykesville channel pretty much fills out the shuffle that started a few years back when the area's original 95.9, WMKX Brookville, moved to 105.5.
That'll do it for this short pre-Thanksgiving issue; we'll be back next Monday with what's likely to be an even shorter one! A happy and safe Thanksgiving to all our US readers, and we'll see you in a week.