What would you do if the owner of a rival radio station acquired an option on the transmitter site of your station in a bid to force a sale or, even worse, the shutdown of a sputtering AM station that’s recently gone silent?
In the case of one New York station owner, a sale was the option.
In 1968, WTHE-AM 1520 in Mineola, N.Y., in the heart of Nassau County, signed on the air as a Class D daytime-only operation, due to its proximity to Class A 50kw giant WWKB-AM in Buffalo.
From a tower a stone’s throw away from Roosevelt Field, WTHE operates during daylight hours with 347 watts. That gives the station coverage the ability to reach all of Nassau County, and much of the Bronx and lower Westchester County, across Long Island Sound.
This, of course, requires WTHE to be operable.
On January 25, 2018, WTHE went silent under an STA. The reason, licensee Universal Broadcasting of New York told the FCC: WTHE was evicted from its transmitter site.
To keep the station from losing its license, WTHE returned to the air on Jan. 15, 2019, but fell silent again.
It will soon return to the air permanently — but under different ownership and with different programming. As a result, a nearly 50-year Gospel format, and the first to air in the New York Tri-State Area, will officially be lost.
In an Asset Purchase Agreement filed Feb. 8 with the Commission but dated Jan. 7, 2019, Universal Broadcasting — led by Dr. Abraham Warshaw — is selling WTHE to Cantico Nuevo Ministry for $200,000.
Call it a capitulation.
Cantico Nuevo is the entity that is presently using WNYH-AM 740 in Huntington, N.Y., a Class D AM with a complex array of 4 towers and 25kw during daylight and just 43 watts after dark, via a time brokerage agreement with licensee Win Radio Broadcasting Corp.
Win is wholly controlled by Richard Yoon. According to Warshaw, an attempt was made by his company to secure a lease from the current owner of the WTHE transmitter site. Universal was informed that an “exclusive option” to lease the site had been granted to Yoon — who Warshaw claims represented himself as WTHE’s owner.
“Yoon took this action in an apparent attempt to (a) force Universal to sell WTHE to Win at a price dictated by Win, or (b) force the station to forfeit its license … either of which would eliminate a competitor in Win’s market,” Warshaw wrote in an STA filing made Feb. 1.
In order to avoid license expiration, WTHE secured a site for a long wire antenna, he added.
“It is anticipated that once the option granted to Yoon expires, Universal will be able to enter into a lease agreement with the site owner and commence operation with its licensed parameters,” Warshaw predicted.
It turns out he was incorrect, even as Charles Hecht & Associates was hired as a technical consultant to make things work for Universal Broadcasting.
The asset purchase and sale agreement is dated several weeks prior to this STA request and claim.
A $20,000 deposit has been made, and a $30,000 payment is due in cash at closing.
The remainder will be represented by a $150,000 promissory note payable in 15 monthly installments of $10,000.
A Time Brokerage Agreement is being executed that will place Radio Cantico Nuevo‘s Spanish-language non-secular programming on WTHE.
Cantico Nuevo Ministry Inc. is based in Elizabeth, N.J., and is led by Erick Salgado.
Serving as Cantico Nuevo’s counsel in this transaction is Allan G. Moskowitz, Esq., of Montgomery County, Md.
Cantico Nuevo Ministry and Radio Cantico Nuevo are separate entities. The latter sees Salgado as holding 51% equity interest; the former has Salgado as a 33% attributive interest holder.
With WTHE, Cantico Nuevo in total will have four total stations in the New York Tri-State area. In addition to the aforementioned WNYH, the entity also owns and operates WXMC-AM 1310 in Parsippany, N.J.; WNYG-AM 1440 in Medford, N.Y.; and WLIM-AM 1580 in Patchougue, N.Y.
Meanwhile, the sale of WTHE ends not only an era for Gospel programming in the New York Tri-State Area but also the end of station ownership for Universal, which had been WTHE’s owner for 20 years. In September 2018, Universal sold its other property — WVNJ-AM 1160 in Oakland, N.J. — to Immaculate Heart Radio for $750,000.