Bargain basement discount detailed for Nassau MD stations


SoldThe paperwork is in at the FCC for the Manning Broadcasting purchase of stations in the Frederick MD and Hagerstown MD area. The price, to say the least, has really come down.

Coming to Manning from the Nassau bankruptcy sale are WWEG-FM Myersville MD, WAFY-FM Middletown MD and WARK-AM Hagerstown MD.

The price: $6.4M cash.

Manning principles include Eugene J. Manning (43.8%), J. Frederick Manning (26.83%), Suzanne M. Sisk (15.52%) and Eileen M. Quick (13.82%).

It took two deals for Nassau to put this trio together, both of which occurred in 2004. WAFY-FM came from Frederick Broadcasting as a standalone for $15.7M, and the other two stations, which were WARK-AM/WARX-FM at the time, with the FM still licensed to Hagerstown, came for $14M. The ultimate irony, of course, is that the seller in the latter deal was the buyer in the immediate deal, Manning Broadcasting.

So the total price has come down from $29.7M to $6.4M. Manning is getting all three stations for less than half of what it already received for the two weaker stations of the trio.

Here’s what Manning is getting:
* WWEG-FM is the crown jewel, a Class B on 106.9 MHz with 15.5 kW @ 853’. It easily reaches both Frederick and Hagerstown and plays Classic Hits as The Eagle.
* WAFY-FM is strictly a Frederick outlet, a Class A on 103.1 MHz with 1 kW @ 571’. It plays Adult Contemporary fare.
* WARK-AM is strictly a Hagerstown outlet, using a Talk format as a Class C on 1490 kHz with 1 kW-U, ND.

RBR-TVBR observation: Talk about bad luck. Timing can be everything in this kind of thing, and Nassau plunked down its bet on the future of Frederick radio just before the bottom fell out of the economy.

That said, the contrast between the two 2004 deals and this new one suggests that pricing did get way out of hand during the Telecommunications Act feeding frenzy. Isn’t it hard to imaging spending $30M for three radio stations in this types of backwater media markets?