Ten Years After, AU Says Farewell To Delmarva


In June 2010, American University in Washington, D.C., expanded its reach by acquiring a 50kw Class B facility with a signal covering the entire Delmarva Peninsula, home to the Salisbury-Ocean City, Md., market.

The station served as a repeater of its market-leading NPR Member station in D.C.

Now, it is parting ways with it.

AU’s Board of Trustees on Jan. 31 signed off on the sale of WRAU-FM 88.3 in Ocean City to Delaware First Media Corp. 

The private university is earning $537,500 from the sale of WRAU. A $35,000 deposit is being held by Fletcher Heald & Hildreth.

A downpayment of $65,000, additional to the escrow payment, will be paid in cash at closing to AU. A Promissory Note valued at $437,500 will be drafted and executed, with a 5% interest rate on two payments. The first is due in a year following the closing date at $218,750. The second payment, also $218,750, is due 24 months after closing.

Terms also call for Delaware First Media Corporation to take control of a tower sublease agreement with Clearview Tower Company. Clearview assigned usage rights of the tower to ATC Ponderosa K LLC.

There is no broker or finder involved in this deal.

For a decade, WRAU served the coastal communities of Maryland and Delaware largely as an extension of WAMU-FM 88.5 in Washington.

“We know that many Washingtonians take advantage of the beautiful beaches and relaxing atmosphere of the Delmarva peninsula when the weather warms up,” WAMU GM Caryn Mathes said in June 2010. “Our audience has long expressed a desire to ‘take us across the bridge’ with them, and 88.3 Ocean City allows them to do just that.”

Thanks to technology, that’s no longer necessary. And, for those who reside in the region full-time, they are about to get programming from Delaware’s leading NPR Member.

Delaware First Media is the licensee of WDDE-FM 91.1 in Dover, Del., a Class A with a signal contour just to the north of WRAU’s. WDDE’s programming also airs in afternoons and mornings on WMPH-FM in Wilmington.

Thus, the addition of WRAU is a big move forward for WDDE and Delaware First Media, putting NPR talk-heavy programming in a region where WSDL-FM 90.7’s “Rhythm and News” format is music-intensive and WESM-FM 91.3 airs jazz music from 9am-4pm and in evenings.