American Urban Radio Networks owner and operator Sheridan Broadcasting Corporation is spinning all three of its O&O radio stations in its headquarters market of Pittsburgh. They will abandon their formats in favor of Religious programming under new owner St. Joseph Missions.
SJM will pay $8.9M for the trio, which includes Urban WAMO-FM on 106.7 MHz out of Beaver Falls; Urban Oldies WAMO-AM on 860 kHz out of Millvale; and Gospel WPGR-AM on 1510 kHz out of Monroeville.
Publicist Russell Bynum, speaking on behalf of Sheridan, said the stations’ staff was informed at 4PM Friday 5/15/09 about the sale and that 35 jobs would be lost. He suggested that the current economic climate was the major reason for the sale, but hinted that Arbitron’s new PPM audience measuring system was also part of the problem.
Sheridan plans to use the proceeds to shore up the other components of its business, which besides AURN also includes radio stations in other markets. It plans to continue to operate AURN out of Pittsburgh.
RBR/TVBR observation: Sheridan was the only company serving the African American population of Pittsburgh, which comprises only about 7% of the market’s population. However, it leaves a huge format gap – and we expect at least one cluster operator in the market will step forward to fill it. However, that’s not going to satisfy many watchdogs, who will rightly be mourning another setback for minority ownership.