‘Alfa Rock’ Set For Higher Calling


A heritage rock ‘n’ roll station serving Puerto Rico for decades will soon be serving up its eclectic mix of active rock, reggae and alternative beats for one final time.

Thanks to a just-consummated deal filed Monday (7/24) with the FCC, “Alfa Rock” will soon be saying adios to its listeners across the island. What’s coming? The sounds of such artists as Jeremy Camp, Chris Tomlin, and tobyMac — following a shift to noncommercial status.

In a somewhat historic move, Educational Media Foundation is acquiring WCAD-FM “Alfa Rock”, a Class B facility licensed to San Juan, Puerto Rico and broadcasting at 105.7 MHz.

To boost its 50kw coverage over eastern Puerto Rico and the islands of Culebra and Vieques, WCAD uses a booster in Fajardo. Similarly, WCAD has a booster in the mountain town of Juana Diaz to assist with its coverage of Ponce.

Prior to the arrival of Arbitron (now Nielsen Audio), Puerto Rico’s radio marketplace was carved into three distinct markets: San Juan, Ponce and Mayaguez, to the west. Arbitron fomented the proliferation of cadenas, or networks designed to give one station total-island coverage, as the Arbitron methodology combined the individual markets measured by Asesores, a Puerto Rico-based audience measurement company.

With a niche format and lack of a strong presence along Puerto Rico’s West Coast, “Alfa Rock” found itself at a technical disadvantage. Then came the arrival of SBS and Univision Radio, followed by a severe recession and lingering financial crisis that has led many Puerto Ricans to move to the U.S. mainland.

Given all of the challenges, “Alfa Rock” owner Broadcasting & Programming Systems of Puerto Rico, led by GM Ralph Perez Ramirez, opted to sell.

EMF, led by Mike Novak, confirmed that “Alfa Rock” will become an affiliate of its Christian AC “KLOVE” network, based at KLVR-FM in Middletown, Calif.

EMF is paying the owner of “Alfa Rock” a total $2.9 million for the facility. A 5% escrow deposit has been placed into a mainland account at WashingtonFirst Bank, serving as escrow agent.

Representing the seller as the exclusive broker in this transaction is Beth Griffin. The broker fee will be delivered by EMF via wire transfer at closing and credited against the purchase price.

As has consistently been the case with most EMF transactions in recent months, David Oxenford of Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP served as legal counsel in this deal.

“Alfa Rock” debuted in Puerto Rico in 1978. Over the years, it has retained its Spanish-language presentation while airing English-language rock hits. Programmed in blocks, like a Latin American rock station, “Alfa” offered alternative music at night and a mix of Classic Rock and specialty shows during daytime hours.