In May 2013, a small operator led by Bruce Mittman and Jim Leven agreed to acquire a group of radio stations in the Twin Tiers region of Western New York and extreme North-Central Pennsylvania.
This gave the company, Community Broadcasters, three FMs and three AMs in a market known for its world-famous NASCAR course and glass manufacturing, as well as and AM/FM combo in a town further west toward Lake Erie.
Now, Mittman and Leven are saying farewell to the Twin Tiers.
RBR+TVBR has confirmed that an asset purchase agreement has been struck that will send to Seven Mountains Media the stations Community Broadcasters purchased some 5 1/2 years ago.
The stations are:
- CHR/Pop Class B WNKI-FM 106.1 “Wink 106”
- Rock Class A WNGZ-FM “Wingz 104.9”, licensed to Mountour Falls, N.Y.
- Country Class A WPGI-FM 100.9, in Horseheads, N.Y.
- News/Talk Class B WWLZ-AM 820, in Horseheads, N.Y.
- Classic Country Class C WRCE-AM 1490 in Watkins Glen, N.Y.
* Country Class B WPIG-FM 95.7
* WHDL-AM 1450, which uses W296DB to broadcast as CHR/Pop “Hot 107.1,” mirrored after co-owned Wink 106
The sale price was not immediately known.
Michael J. Bergner of Bergner & Co. was the Broker in this transaction for Seven Mountains. George Reed of Media Services Group represented Community Broadcasters.
Community Broadcasters purchased the stations, plus a now-defunct AM, from Barry Drake-led Backyard Broadcasting for $3.6 million in a deal brokered by Kalil & Co.
Seven Mountains executive Dave Taylor told RBR+TVBR while en route from a staff meeting in Olean to a similar meeting in Elmira Heights that those employed across the Community Broadcasters’ Twin Tiers clusters need not fret about their job security.
“We never clean house,” he said, noting that Market Manager Mark Boarman, who succeeded the now-retired Smitty O’Loughlin in August 2017, is staying on. So is WNKI-OM/PD/morning co-host Scott Free and wake-up companion Ally Payne, who celebrate 13 years on Wink 106 in May 2019.
Seven Mountains is a Kentucky-based radio broadcasting company that has emerged as a leading small and medium-sized market leader across the Keystone State. In October, it lured the radio chairman of the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters and former leader of WBEB-FM in Philadelphia following its sale from Jerry Lee to Entercom, Jim Loftus.
Under CEO Kristin Cantrell, Seven Mountains is in growth mode. On July 9, Seven Mountains Media acquired an AM station with an FM translator proudly serving Mexico, Pa. One week later, the company acquired a translator serving the Wilkes Barre area.
Seven Mountains markets include Dubois, State College, Lewistown, Huntingdon, Selinsgrove, Bloomsburg, Wellsboro/Mansfield and Sayre, Pa.
Astute geography buffs will recognize the latter community as a part of the Elmira-Corning, N.Y. market.
Indeed, Seven Mountains in early April acquired Geos Communications’ Class A WVYS-FM 96.7, branded as “Yes FM.” Also included in that deal are booster WVYS-FM2 in Towanda, Pa., and translator W297BG at 107.3 MHz in Ulster, Pa.
WVYS shifted to 96.9 MHz and is now WZBF, a part of the “Bigfoot Country” network of stations.
The station has a city-grade signal over Elmira. However, it does not reach Corning or Watkins Glen.
Seven Mountains paid $360,000 for Yes FM’s trio of facilities.
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