A pair of radio companies broke the rule against breaking up a paired standard band/expanded band set of AM stations when it consummated the sale of only one of the two. Now attempts by both parties to that deal to sell the stations to others have been shot down.
Artistic Media Partners owns and operates 1620 kHz. WDND-AM South Bend.
Times Communications Inc. owns and operates 1580 WHLY-AM, home to the portion of the AM band abandoned by WDND.
Both were sold by Times to Artistic with the FCC’s blessings back in 1999. However, Artistic closed on WDND only, eventually citing environmental problems as the reason it didn’t take WHLY as well.
As the standard band sister of WDND, WHLY was supposed to surrender its license and go out of business within five years – as the FCC reminded, the guiding motivation for creating the expanded band was to provide better facilities for operationally challenged AM stations while reducing crowding on the band in general.
The split of the two stations, with Artistic getting one and Times retaining the other, should never have been allowed, and the FCC said it was never informed about the situation.
Artistic said once it turned down the acquisition of WHLY, it assumed Times would turn in the license. It should have happened in 2006, but it never did.
It came to a head late last year, however.
Times filed to sell WHLY to I.B. Communications for $140K on 11/5/12; and Artistic filed to sell WDND to Fort Wayne Catholic Radio Group on 12/10/12.
This brought the improper break-up of the paired stations to light. The FCC has now denied both sales – and said the only transaction it would honor would be one which brought the two stations back under common ownership.
RBR-TVBR observation: We checked the FCC database, and WHLY, which by all rights should now be but a memory, is listed as operating on a license that does not expire until August 1, 2020.
It would seem to put the station into some sort of AM band Twilight Zone script. Will the FCC honor its own faulty decision to grant life to the station at least until that date, or will the wheels go into motion to bring about the station’s demise, now about seven years overdue? Stay tuned.