Charlotte Talker WDYT goes dark


The Charlotte Observer reports WDYT-AM (1220) has gone off the air, the “latest victim of an advertising market in free fall.” “Revenues fell below the expense levels,” Danny Fontana, a Charlotte investment adviser who used to be on rival WBT-AM (1110) and launched WDYT three years ago, told the paper. “I couldn’t see running in the red.”

Fontana assembled investors to buy the station for $950,000 in 2006 from former N.C. lottery commissioner Kevin Geddings, who was later convicted of mail fraud. Its transmitter was moved from Kings Mountain to Gaston County to improve signal strength in Charlotte, but it was still difficult to receive in parts of the core market, the story said.

Even with the addition of Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity, WDYT found it hard to crack the market amid the ad downturn and went through a series of layoffs.

On Monday, WDYT notified the FCC it had ceased transmitting. Fontana said his group, CRN Communications, does not intend to give back the station’s license. CRN continues to hold it under a 30-day agreement with the FCC, which can be amended for an additional year. CRN is looking at options ranging from selling the station to coming back with a different format.

“I think our format was the right one, but the economic conditions right now are the worst I’ve ever seen,” he said.