Serving McDowell County and surrounding counties since May 9, 1949 is a Class D 5kw facility with 51 watts at night. In recent years, it’s benefited from a FM translator, putting a MHz signal over a town due east of Asheville, N.C.
Now, this AM and FM translator are being spun to a new owner — a company with 75% ownership by two well-known individuals across the broadcast TV business.
WBRM-AM 1250, which added 103.9 MHz in May 2019 on the 70th anniversary of the Marion, N.C., based Country station, is being sold.
It’s the end of an era for Annette Bryant, who has owned the station since 1988, when a move from Adult Contemporary came with a power increase.
Who is the buyer? Todd Fowler is a 25% owner and Managing Member of the entity, known as Skyline Media Holdings.
But, the other two partners, who each hold 37.5% interest in Skyline, are much more familiar names for those in the media world.
Taking 75% ownership in Skyline are Kevin and Brian Lilly.
Those are the sons of George Lilly, and key leaders in Lilly Broadcasting. Brian Lilly is CEO; Kevin Lilly is President.
Skyline is acquiring WBRM and the FM translator for $125,000. A $10,000 deposit has been made to Ms. Bryant. Mark Jorgenson and Jorgenson Broadcast Brokerage served as the broker in this transaction, and as escrow agent.
The price is for the station’s licenses. A Studio Lease/Option Agreement for its offices and studios at 147 N. Garden Street in Marion, N.C. (pictured, top left) has been drafted. This allows Skyline to lease the property from Ms. Bryant for a minimum of five years at a initial rental rate of $12,000 per year; a 3% annual rental escalator will be enforced.
The Studio Lease option will allow Skyline to purchase the building for $150,000, assuming it is not in default of the station’s purchase.
To be clear, WBRM will not be tied to Lilly, which owns WICU-AM, WNAE-FM & WRRN-FM in Warren, Pa. and WICU-FM in its home market of Erie, Pa.
It also owns TV stations WICU-12 and WSEE-35 in Erie, Pa.; WENY-36 in Elmira-Corning, N.Y.; WZMQ-19 in Marquette, Mich.; and WCVI-23 in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
KITV-4 in Honolulu is being sold to Byron Allen’s Allen Media for $30 million.
Meanwhile, Fowler is known as a media broker through Fowler Media Consulting, based in the Charleston, S.C., area.
How did Fowler and the Lilly brothers come together to make this deal? Fowler tells RBR+TVBR he and the Lilly brothers are longtime childhood friends, and saw the opportunity to partner in “a high-growth area, with a lot of retail sales.”