The end may be in sight in the protracted effort to find a new owner/operator for noncommercial WMFE-TV Orlando. A contract has been filed for the transfer of the station – but we’ve seen that before.
The seller is Community Communications Inc., headed by Jose A. Fajardo. It has been trying to spin the station for some time due to its distaste for keeping up with the payments necessary to maintain a PBS affiliation. The company is interested in focusing its attention of sister WMFE-FM.
The buyer will be the University of Central Florida, headed by Michael J. Grindstaff and Grant Heston, among others. It too has a radio station in Orlando, WUCF-FM.
The price will be $3.3M, comprised of a $330K escrow deposit delivered to the seller at closing, an additional closing cash payment of $1.07M, and two payments of $950K (plus interest) down the road.
The total value of the deal beats that of a previous deal which made it all the way to the FCC application step. In that one, national religious noncom Daystar was prepared to pay $3M in a deal that was accepted by the FCC for filing 4/4/12.
The Daystar transaction caused some noise from people who did not wish to have PBS fare replaced by Daystar’s religious programming.
Since the seller is still using the WMFE call letters for its FM station, that is one piece of intellectual property that will be staying with the seller.