More than meets the eye to Benton Harbor FM buy


SoldYou may want to fasten your seatbelts for this one. On the surface, WHFB-FM in Benton Harbor MI is being sold for a relatively small amount of cash. But there is lot’s more going on here. Just for starters, the station is considered to be part of a market in a different state. And there is a lot more money involved, a third party deal participant and an LMA that dates back to 1998.

Strapped in yet? OK, let’s take this apart, step by step.

The seller is WHFB Broadcast Associates LP, headed by G. Woodward Stover II, the president of Wincom Communications Inc.

The buyer is Douglas Road Radio Inc., (DRR) a subsidiary of Summit Radio II LLC, headed by Michael R. Leep Sr. and Kristen Guernsey-Leep.

They will pay $20K cash for the station. That includes the right to use the call letters, which is a little unusual because the seller, which will retain WHFB-AM, also will be allowed to continue to use its similar calls.

Both the AM and FM have been party to an LMA/option agreement with WSBT Inc. going back to 10/23/98. That LMA will terminate, and WSBT has signed over its option for DRR.

WSBT, as it turns out, is a subsidiary of Schurz Communications Inc. (SCI). And it is a partner in DRR.

DRR and SCI agree that WHFB-FM has a fair market value of $816K. DRR is paying $20K to the seller, and the remaining $796K is being treated as a capital contribution to DRR by SCI.

OK – stand up, stretch, maybe have a glass or water or another cup of coffee. Because we aren’t done yet. Time’s up! Back to the report.

DRR filed 2/13/12 to acquire WZOC-FM Plymouth IN, also part of the South Bend market, from Plymouth Broadcasting Inc., and the two stations will form a duopoly. The WZOC deal was valued at $2.225M.

On top of that, DRR will LMA two stations from SCI. It will handle the bulk of operations for WSBT-AM and WNSN-FM, creating a de facto superduopoly cluster of one AM and three FMs. Both of the SCI stations are licensed to South Bend.

WHFB-FM is a Class B on 99.9 MHz with 50 kW @ 407’.
WZOC-FM is a Class B1 on 94.3 MHz with 11.5 kW @ 492’.
WSBT-AM is a Class B on 960 kHz with 5 kW-U, DA2.
WNSN-FM is a Class B on 101.5 MHz with 13 kW @ 971’.

They all put a serviceable signal over South Bend.

We think that just about wraps it up.