Greater Media eases Family Radio back into Philly


SoldHarold Camping is investing in the future, particularly of Philadelphia, in a deal for Greater Media’s WPEN-AM. Family sold its Philly FM to Merlin less than a year ago.

The ESPN sports outlet will be shifting to noncommercial operation, carrying Family’s religious fare, once the deal makes it to the finish line.

The station is a Class B on 950 kHz with 43 kW-D, 21 kW-N, DA2, producing a contour with excellent coverage of the market.

The deal goes in the books at $8.5M cash. It is notable for what the deal does not include: Greater Media will hang onto the stations call letters (in use at its other Philadelphia sports station, WPEN-FM), its studio and offices, its station-to-transmitter linking equipment and some other items.

Greater Media also operates WMGK-FM and WBEN-FM in the market.

Family Stations sold its long-time Philadelphia FM WKDN to Randy Michaels’ new venture, Merlin Media, for $22.5M in a deal filed with the FCC 12/7/11. The station, which was operated non-commercially in the commercial band at 106.9 MHz, was one of several Family Station large-market outlets that have been seen as potential revenue generators for the religious group.

Tom Evans, Vice President of Family Stations commented, “We at Family Radio are grateful to again have the opportunity to provide God’s Word to our long-time listeners in the greater Philadelphia area.  We thank Greater Media for their cooperation and professionalism.”

“Family Stations has been a pleasure to work with,” said Greater Media Philadelphia Vice President and Market Manager John Fullam.  “Greater Media looks forward to focusing on the growth of 97.5 The Fanatic, the best sports talk station serving the market and the new home to Sixers and Flyers play by play.”

RBR-TVBR observation: This is further confirmation that Family’ leader Camping has gotten out of the Doomsday-predicting business, just as he said he would. And done it in style, in this market at least – Family will return its programming to the airwaves here after having banked a net gain of $14M, courtesy of Randy Michaels.