Former Powell Cluster Flipped, At A Big Premium


WEST PALM BEACH, FLA. — On Wednesday, October 10, 2018, the ferocity of Hurricane Michael tore through Bay County, on the Florida Panhandle. The city of Panama City Beach, Fla., and communities to the north and east of this one-time Spring Break Capital of the U.S. were devastated.

Among the most heavily damaged business were a group of FMs owned by Baton Rouge-based Powell Broadcasting Company. Rather than rebuild the station’s facilities, Powell abandoned them, and in May 2019 agreed to sell three of them to an attorney based in Fort Lauderdale.

Now, this attorney is spinning the trio of stations — and earning more than double what he paid for the quartet.

According to an Asset Purchase Agreement filed with the FCC on Wednesday (7/3), Gulf Coast Media — a wholly owned company headed by attorney Sam Rogatinsky — is selling Classic Rock WRBA-FM, “Bob FM” Adult Hits WASJ-FM and Country WKNK-FM just two months after agreeing to buy the stations.

The buyer is Great American Media, led by Managing Member Aaron Scott Lee.

His company is agreeing to pay $700,000 for the three stations, and has made a 10% escrow deposit to Smallwood Miranda Law, serving as escrow agent.

That’s a substantial payday for Rogatinsky, who paid $325,000 to acquire the stations from Powell.

However, rebuilding the stations likely came at a cost — and this is likely one reason why Gulf Coast is able to command a price that is more than double what Rogatinsky paid Powell.

A 150-foot tower housed the studio/transmitter link for Powell’s four-station Panama City stations ahead of Hurricane Michael. During the catastrophic Category 5 hurricane, it crashed and landed on the station’s building, resulting in water damage caused by the heavy rainfall associated with Hurricane Michael.

The fourth station owned by Powell in Panama City was sold just 2 1/2 weeks before the storm’s arrival on the Florida Panhandle. That is former CHR/Pop WPFM-FM 107.9, which was sold to Educational Media Foundation for $472,000.

Interestingly, Lee and Rogatinsky have something in common: Both are attorneys who formed media companies with the intent of owning and operating radio stations.

Lee was unavailable for comment, as Smallwood Miranda is closed the week of July 1 for the Independence Day holiday. Rogatinsky did not immediately return RBR+TVBR‘s requests for comment.

Serving as the legal counsel in this transaction, representing the buyer, is Matthew McCormick of Fletcher Heald & Hildreth.

Representing Gulf Coast Media is Scott Woodworth of Edinger Associates.

For Rogatinsky, his focus will now be turning on the lights and growing revenue at his most recent acquisition: WRXB-AM 1590 in St. Petersburg Beach, Fla., and W243AK at 96.5 MHz in Bradenton, Fla., which were silent at the time of purchase from Polnet Communications.

The agreement date was May 24. The sale price was $165,000.

Rogatinsky also owns Class C WPBR-AM 1340 in Lantana, Fla., an 810-watt facility with 1 tower that has a signal covering Palm Beach County with Haitian Creole programming. It uses W241AX at 96.1 MHz as an FM translator.