Ohio radio trio headed for the non-profit world

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Radio Stations WPAY/WPFB, Inc. is the seller, and the stations it is selling are, aptly enough, WPAY-FM Portsmouth OH and WPFB AM-FM Middletown OH. The buyer is Northern Kentucky University.


NKU, headed by President James C. Votruba, owns and operates WNKU-FM Highland Heights KY, which provides an eclectic and locally-oriented mix of music to the Cincinnati radio market, and wishes to extend its reach through the group acquisition.

The seller is headed by Douglas L. Braden. According to Greg Guy of Patrick Communications, who represented the seller, the price for the three stations is $6.75M cash. Noncom brokerage specialist Public Radio Capital was on hand on behalf of the buyer.

An LMA kicks off 2/1/11. Local papers were bemoaning the loss of an extensive schedule of high school sports play-by-play that Braden’s stations were bringing to the stations’ service areas. WNKU-FM GM Chuck Miller told the Dayton Daily News, “We have a belief in local issues and local news and weather. This isn’t syndicated content. I’m hopeful that we’ll be thought of as new neighbors.”

The Daily News said that the stations will take WNKU programming up to Dayton and Urbana, and also hit parts of southwestern Ohio and northern Kentucky.

RBR-TVBR observation: A lot of the trading during the past few doldrum years has involved commercial stations going to noncommercial buyers, but most of those noncommercial buyers have been religious organizations.

The college trend, however, has been to sell in order to plow money into other projects, at least partially on the theory that the younger demo is no longer paying all that much attention to radio. This deal bucks that latter trend.