CBS closes on acquisition of Family Station DC FM


One plank of the slow-motion station spin-off project being carried out by noncommercial Family Stations has made it to the finish line. CBS has closed on its acquisition of 107.9 MHz WFSI-FM Annapolis MD. The frequency is now the new home of CBS’s WLZL-FM Hispanic station, opening co-owned 99.1 to a new entrant into the News format, WNEW-FM. However, according to one observer, WNEW will be taking on Hubbard’s iconic WTOP News franchise with one 70 dBu arm tied behind its back.

In a statement, CBS said, “As a result of the purchase, CBS Radio launched an all-news station in the D.C. metropolitan area on Sunday, Jan. 22 on 99.1 WNEW-FM.  Programming previously featured on that frequency, ‘El Zol,’ a popular and thriving Spanish language format, can now be heard on the newly acquired station.”

WFSI came from Harold Camping’s Family Radio in a cash deal worth $8.5M. It was filed with the FCC 11/17/11.
David Schutz of Hoffman Schutz Media Capital called the WNEW-WTOP face-off the Battle of the Titans, but quickly added that CBS will be entering the contest with a significant facilities disadvantage. It’s 60 dBu contour only reaches 74% of the territory commanded by WTOP, and when it comes to the all-important 70 dBu city-grade contour, that number shrinks to 48%.

See Schutz’s comments, along with appropriate charts and maps, here.