Economy did in Sovereign City


The still-young radio syndicator confirms that it shut down Monday. In short, Sovereign City Communications said it had no revenue stream coming in and no prospects for growth in the current economic downturn. Company attorney Greg Gill tells RBR/TVBR that the shuttering of the syndication operation will have no impact on WNTD-AM Chicago, which is also owned by Mark Follett.

“Sovereign City’s decision was based upon the volatility of the economic circumstances which came together during the past year. These circumstances left the company with no current revenue stream and no prospects for near term future growth. Ultimately the combination of the state of the economy together with the inability to obtain new investment capital left the company with no choice but to cease operations,” the company said in a statement issued on Tuesday.

Gill, whose law firm specializes in employment law, said each employee will be offered outplacement services and the opportunity to participate in a severance arrangement in order to assist them as they search for new employment.  He noted that due to the small size of the staff, approximately 40 employees, the 60 day closing notice required under federal or state law for larger companies did not apply.  

Even yesterday the Sovereign City website was still operating, with several job openings posted on the main page. Although the signature program, airing 7-midnight with Wendy Templeton, had aired since July, other dayparts had only recently launched.

Sovereign City founder/owner Mark Follett had previously launched the non-commercial Starboard Media Foundation, which produces Catholic-oriented religious programming for a group of O&O and affiliate stations nationwide. He also owns Sovereign City Radio Services, which is the licensee of WNTD.

RBR/TVBR observation: 2009 looks to be a relatively good year for the radio syndication business, as stations look to outsource more programming in the face of a tough economy. Sovereign City, though, was still in the start-up phase, which meant that it faced an uphill battle to claim a significant chunk of that business from larger, established syndicators.