The audio media company led by President/CEO David Field is parting ways with a pair of AM radio stations serving the Piedmont region of North Carolina.
Will the incoming buyer make any programming changes to these Class D facilities being sold by Entercom?
The Truth will be known soon.
Being spun to Truth Broadcasting Corp. by Entercom is WPET-AM 950 in Greensboro, with 540 watts during daylight hours from 1 tower; and “Big WEAL Gospel” WEAL-AM 1510 in Greensboro, with 820 watts during daylight hours from 1 tower.
As of today, WPET is a largely brokered Southern Gospel station that Entercom has owned since 2001, when it acquired the property along with what is today WSMW-FM from Bahakel Communications.
WEAL is a similarly programmed station, but with a focus on African American listeners. It must sign off at night to protect WLAC-AM in Nashville. It ended up in Entercom hands in July 1999 as part of a four-station acquisition from Sinclair.
The deal is valued at $400,000, providing some extra cash to Entercom — a company with an underperforming stock and lagging recovery from COVID-19 revenue dips that began in the fourth week of March. This has resulted in job losses — including a recent wave of activity that saw the dismissal of WCMF-FM in Rochester, N.Y.’s five-year Program Director, Mike “Mud” Gross; and a shift away from local hosts across several dayparts at Alternative stations in such markets as Miami; Buffalo; and Portland, Ore.
A 10% escrow deposit is being held by the broker in this transaction, Mark Jorgenson of Jorgenson Broadcast Brokerage Inc.
What happens next will be up to a company led by Stuart Epperson Jr. He is the nephew of Ed Atsinger III, CEO of Salem Media Group, and oversees “The Truth Network.” It operates radio stations across North Carolina, and in central Iowa and Salt Lake City.
He also hosts his own nationally syndicated show, “Truth Talk Live.” And, in Salem’s words, Truth “is a current customer of the company.” Epperson also serves as a Salem board member.
As Epperson is a resident of Winston-Salem, N.C., WPET and WEAL could keep their current formats, or shift to programming heard across other Truth stations. They include Bon Air, Va.-licensed Class D WLES-AM 590 “The Truth,” with 1kw during daylight hours and 58 watts at night, from 1 tower. Truth acquired that property in March 2019.