Seven Mountains Completes A Sound Transaction


In February, RBR+TVBR first reported on the sale of nine radio stations owned by Sound Communications in the Twin Tiers of Northern Pennsylvania and Western New York.

The deal, brokered by Michael J. Bergner, has now closed — making the company led by Kristin Cantrell a dominant player in the region.

It didn’t even own stations here in 2017.

Seven Mountains Media LLC, the Kentucky-based company with a large presence in the Keystone State, has completed its $1.8 million deal that gives it the following stations;

The stations are WGGO-AM 1590 “The Patriot”, WMXO-FM “Mix 101.5”, WOEN-AM 1360 and WQRS-FM 98.3 “98 Rocks” in Olean, N.Y.; Country giant WKPQ-FM in Hornell, N.Y.; and WENI-AM 1450 & FM 92.7, WENY-AM 1230 and WGMM-FM “Gem 98.7” in Corning-Elmira, N.Y.

Sound is led by Bettina Finn, and all of those stations — including WZKZ-FM 101.9 in Alfred, N.Y. — were originally intended to be purchased by Standard Media Group, under the leadership of Deb McDermott.

However, as RBR+TVBR exclusively reported, financing concerns led to a non-consummation of this and other deals Standard had agreed to.

With Standard’s purchase aborted, Finn turned to Cantrell’s group, which had no presence in the Twin Tiers as recently as 2018.

For those wondering how 7 Mountains Media will adhere to local ownership rules, upon closing it successfully spun-off five stations to Family Life Ministries:  former Sound stations WENY-FM and WZKZ-FM; and Seven Mountains’ WPHD-FM 104.9 in Montour Falls, N.Y.; WMTT-FM 100.9 in Horseheads, N.Y.; and WUDE-FM 96.7 in Portville, N.Y.

In exchange, Family Life will trade to Seven Mountains WCIG-FM 107.7 in Dallas, Pa., and will pay “some consideration” to the Cantrell-led company.

A Class A facility, WCIG enjoys coverage of the entire Scranton-Wilkes Barre area, with in-car coverage in Hazleton and Honesdale. This puts Seven Mountains directly into Northeastern Pennsylvania’s biggest market for the first time, as its other Pennsylvania stations cover State College, Selinsgrove, Lewistown, Wellsboro, DuBois and Stroudsburg, which straddles the border with New Jersey.

Family Life is headed by Rick Snavely. And, with WUDE now one of his group’s stations, it is set to change its call letters to WCOR-FM and relocate its facility so it is closer to Bradford, Pa., southwest of Portville. Additionally, engineering work has been put in play that will see WMTT shift from its Class A facility in Horseheads at 100.9 MHz to a new facility at 101.1 MHz under the forthcoming WCIM call letters. This would be used to serve the Ithaca, N.Y., radio market due east of Montour Falls

Sound Communications was represented by Paige Christian in this deal