WCRB-FM Boston changing hands again


Nassau Broadcasting is selling its big market signal, WCRB-FM Boston. The commercial Classical station is going to non-commercial operator WGBH, which owns both radio and TV in the market, for $14 million.

The station has been owned by Nassau Broadcasting Partners, which is in the hands of lenders at the moment – with Goldman Sachs at the front of the line. As for WGBH, its own FM has been in the format for decades and is well qualified to keep the format alive on WCRB. It also owns WGBH-TV in Boston.

“This is an extraordinary opportunity for WGBH to enhance and strengthen its strong commitment to classical music programming,” said Marc Hand, whose noncommercial brokerage Public Radio Capital represented the buyer. “As a public media leader in Boston, WGBH has an opportunity to grow public radio’s classical music audience through WCRB, effectively preserving the heritage classical service in Boston.” Patrick Communications represented the sellers.

No less a luminary than world-famous cellist Yo Yo Ma commented on the transaction, saying, “This is a truly exciting development. Classical music is part of our common world heritage, and as such it is in the public interest for an institution like WGBH to make sure our voices are sustained and celebrated. As both a performer and a listener, I applaud WGBH for making this significant investment in our community to ensure that the classical music genre will remain alive and well on Boston radio.”

RBR-TVBR observation: This is the second major commercial FM to go to a noncommercial operator in recent months, joining WQXR-FM New York. Time for the EPA to issue an endangered species alert.