In November 2016, RBR + TVBR noticed an interesting acquisition of an FM translator by Radio One. This facility, formerly known as W288AB, was shipped from the Hagerstown, Md., market to Richmond, Va., where it became W227DJ at 106.9 MHz (instead of its originally intended 93.3 MHz dial position).
At the time, the official FCC filing stated that W228AB will be used to rebroadcast WXGI-AM 950.
There was one slight problem: WXGI was Richmond’s “ESPN Radio” affiliate owned by Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder’s Red Zebra Broadcasting.
That problem has now been resolved. Radio One is acquiring WXGI. It’s also buying Red Zebra’s WWXT-FM 92.7 in Prince Frederick, Md. — an FM simulcast partner of Red Zebra’s WTEM “ESPN 980” in Washington, D.C.
Greg Guy of Patrick Communications represented Red Zebra in this transaction; Radio One did not use a broker.
In an official announcement released Thursday (4/20) by Radio One, the acquisition of WXGI and WWXT comes as Red Zebra “moves toward a more digital delivery system.”
A purchase price was not disclosed; a Form 314 is expected to be posted at the FCC on Friday (4/21).
With the acquisition of WWXT, programming will shift from a simulcast of WTEM to a simulcast of Radio One’s heritage Urban AC in the Washington, D.C., market — WMMJ-FM “Majic 102.3.”
WMMJ is the sixth-ranked station in the Washington, D.C. market, 6+, and competes directly against Howard University’s similarly formatted WHUR.
WMMJ has a Class A signal on the American University broadcast tower in Northwest Washington, D.C. WWXT’s Class A signal will give Majic a boost in Prince George’s County, Md., and in points east toward the Chesapeake Bay, including Upper Marlboro and even Annapolis, where the U.S. Naval Academy is located.
The simulcast will begin May 1, Radio One confirms.
WMMJ is the home of such legendary D.C. air personalities as afternoon host Donnie Simpson. The nationally syndicated Russ Parr and John Monds air in mornings and nights, respectively.
What about WXGI?
Radio One confirms that the Richmond Class D AM will simulcast “the new Richmond ESPN Radio on 1240 AM and 102.7 FM.”
Those facilities are WTPS-AM 1240 and W247BX at FM 102.7 in Petersburg, Va., just south of Richmond. Thus, ESPN Radio listeners and station personnel need not worry about any changes in programming.
Radio One will assume control of WXGI on May 1, and closing is expected by the end of June 2017.
“I still believe in the power of terrestrial radio and am excited about this deal with Red Zebra,” Radio One CEO Alfred Liggins (pictured, above) said. “I’m always willing to evaluate an opportunity that allows us to grow our radio assets and continue to diversify our radio group not just through syndication and digital, but good programming that serves our listeners.”
WXGI-AM will remain the market’s radio home of the Washington Redskins and Washington Nationals Major League Baseball club, as well as the home for University of Richmond Spiders football and basketball.
Most of the staff will transition to become Radio One/Richmond employees, the company confirmed.