Noncommercial WSMR-FM Sarasota FL going secular


Northwestern College Radio Network says that support for its Christian WSMR-FM 89.1 in the Sarasota FL market has dried up, forcing the sale of the station. The University of Southern Florida, which is doubling its FM presence in the area, will put a Classical format on the station and refocus its already-owned station on News and Info.

According to the companies that brokered the deal, which include Patrick Communications for the seller and Public Radio Capital for the buyer, the price is $1.275M cash.

The station will operate in tandem with WUSF-FM 89.7, just up the coast in the Tampa-St. Petersburg market.
WUSF will become a News/Info station with Jazz overnights, and will simulcast WSMR’s upcoming Classical format on a digital side channel.

“This purchase of WSMR and the format changes on both WUSF 89.7 and WSMR 89.1 will allow WUSF Public Media to significantly increase public media services for the people of west central Florida,” said JoAnn Urofsky, general manager of WUSF Public Media. “We will be able to provide more programming options for our listeners and attract new listeners.”

Current WSMR station manager Douglas Poll explained the motivation for the sale to the stations audience, writing, “Despite a great deal of support from listeners like you and our best efforts to contain costs, LIFE 89.1 has never been able to be fully self-supported in this market. Year after year we have relied upon the help of other Northwestern stations to cover our deficits. Due to the economic crunch we have lost many major donors and business sponsors. Even those giving lesser amounts are not able to give at this time due to unemployment and/or relocation. We will keep you posted as to our last day on the air.”

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