CBS deals to enter Washington FM News derby


Family Radio is selling one of its great unreserved facilities, 107.9 WFSI-FM Annapolis MD, to CBS Radio. CBS in turn will take its 99.1 WLZL-FM, also licensed to Annapolis, into a News format aimed at citizens in the DC suburbs, and will move WLZL’s Hispanic format to the 107.9 stick.

CBS exec Dan Mason touted his company’s great track record in the format. He said, “There is no one more regarded in this field, nor anyone with the journalistic expertise and capability to put forth a product with such instant credibility. We have perfected this format over many decades and we’re thrilled to expand the options for the D.C. community who have a distinct passion for news.”

The format flip will provide instant competition for WTOP, which has achieved legendary status in its own lifetime. It was built into a local and national institution by Bonneville and is now owned by Hubbard Broadcasting.

The terms of the deal were not immediately revealed.

Family Radio is sitting on numerous stations located both in large markets and also with commercial potential, sitting on the north side of the NCE/commercial divide which exists at 92 MHz. It has endured a very tough 2011 as its long-time leader twice predicted Doomsday and twice his predicted date came and went without any such event. It has been reported that the episode has left the non-profit organization short of cash.

CBS SVP/Market Manager Steve Swenson said the station would present key information to listeners “immediately and in a succinct manner,” in keeping with the CBS “All-News, All the Time” style. Robert Sanchez will serve as PD and Michelle Komes-Dolge as ND.

Click here for a related story on the All News competition in DC.