At approximately 12:30pm Central on Wednesday, October 10, 2018, the ferocity of Hurricane Michael tore through Panama City Beach, Fla. and communities to the north and east of this one-time Spring Break Capital of the U.S., made famous by MTV and Club La Vela.
All local media was silenced, including four FMs owned by Baton Rouge-based Powell Broadcasting Company. Faced with rebuilding the station’s facilities or abandoning them, Powell elected the latter.
The sale of three of those stations is now complete, making Powell’s exit from the hurricane-lashed Florida Panhandle complete.
For the sum of $325,000, Gulf Coast Broadcasting — a wholly owned company headed by Hollywood, Fla.-based Sam Rogatinsky — is acquiring Classic Rock WRBA-FM, “Bob FM” Adult Hits WASJ-FM, and Country WKNK-FM.
Rogatinsky holds attributable interest in one other station: Class C WPBR-AM 1340 in Lantana, Fla., an 810-watt facility with 1 tower that has a signal covering Palm Beach County with Haitian Creole programming. It uses W241AX at 96.1 MHz as an FM translator.
Now, Rogatinsky has a much bigger and potentially grander array of stations.
Kalil & Co. served as the broker of record in this transaction.
A Local Programming and Marketing Agreement finalized December 3 gave Rogatinsky immediate control of the three station’s licenses, noting that his Gulf Coast “has available and is producing radio programs that it desires to have broadcast on the stations.”
A 150-foot tower housed the studio/transmitter link for Powell’s four stations ahead of Hurricane Michael. During the catastrophic Category 5 hurricane, it crashed and landed on the station’s building, resulting in water damage caused by the heavy rainfall associated with Hurricane Michael.
The fourth station owned by Powell in Panama City was sold just 2 1/2 weeks before the storm’s arrival on the Florida Panhandle. That is former CHR/Pop WPFM-FM 107.9, which was sold to Educational Media Foundation for $472,000.
The sale of WPFM was also brokered by Kalil & Co.
Powell acquired the four stations some 6 1/2 years ago for $950,000. It now solely owns radio stations in Sioux City, Iowa.