PORTLAND, ORE. — On August 1, 2016, Alpha Media entered into a Local Marketing Agreement with 3 Horizons Media, giving it control of a Class C3 FM that had relocated to a tower in Southwest Portland, covering the entire market, from the rural town of Warm Springs, on the east side of Mt. Hood.
This allowed Alpha to flip KWLZ-FM from Classic Hits to CHR/Rhythmic, as KWEE-FM “WE 96.3.”
Now, the station’s third anniversary is in question, as 3 Horizons has sold the station in a deal brokered by Kalil & Co.
It is now poised to become Portland’s fifth FM home of Christian Contemporary and/or Worship Music.
According to an Asset Purchase Agreement dated May 28 and filed June 5 with the FCC, 3 Horizons LLC is selling KWEE-FM to WAY Media.
That’s the Colorado Springs-based nonprofit broadcast ministry that has made WAY-FM a popular choice with CCM listeners in markets such as West Palm Beach and Dallas, where KAWA-FM 89.7 in Sanger, Tex., serves the region.
Now, WAY Media is gambling on an “upgrade” in perhaps the most competitive market for CCM in the nation.
It is paying $3.5 million to acquire KWEE, and plans to shift its “WAY-FM” programming from FM translator K283BL — an FM translator at 104.5 MHz with excellent coverage of the Portland metro — to an even better broadcast home licensed to West Linn, Ore.
A $500,000 escrow deposit has been made and is being held by Fletcher Heald & Hildreth. The remainder will be paid at closing.
Terms of the transaction required 3 Horizons to provide a notice of LMA termination to Alpha Media within 10 days of the May 28 APA signing.
For 3 Horizons, it is one less station in the mix for the Bend, Ore.-based company led by Keith Shipman. The company also is the licensee of KRCO-AM & KLTW-FM in Prineville, KQAK-FM in Bend, and KWPK-FM in Sisters, Ore.
Serving as legal counsel for the seller is Nancy Ory is Lerman Senter.
Mark Lipp at Fletcher Heald & Hildreth is the legal counsel for WAY Media.
“We are excited to move our signal so that WAY-FM / Portland increases from 800,000 to 2,000,000 in coverage,” said WAY Media President/CEO John Scaggs. “This full power station expansion helps cover the triangle of life where our listeners work, live and play. We look forward to being the soundtrack of Portland for those that know Jesus and those yet to know Him. The Portland metro area is the most religiously unaffiliated city in the United States, with 42 percent of residents identifying as atheist, agnostic or no religion. That’s twice the size of the next largest minority: white evangelical Christians. As odd as this might sound, this is exactly the kind of city where we want to have a WAY-FM, rather than one we run away from.”
He added, “We are interested on serving Portland like never before. Much like our current signal that we are superseding, WAY-FM is community supported – donor as well as business support. This new WAY-FM signal in Portland, joining our purchase 2 weeks ago in Evansville, IN, are examples of our intention to shore up coverage in current WAY-FM markets along with our goal to enter new markets.”
WAY-FM has been in Portland via the FM translator since 2011.
Now, it is poised to enter a very lively battle that sees Salem Media Group‘s KFIS-FM 104.1, “The Fish,” compete against KLVP-FM, the KLOVE affiliate owned by Educational Media Foundation. Also in the market is co-owned Air1 affiliate KZRI-FM, and “KLOVE Classics” on FM translator K279BO at 103.7 MHz.
This is in addition to various Christian talk and teaching formats, including “Relevant Radio” member station KBVM-FM 88.3, KPFR-FM 89.5 “Family Radio,” K220IN at 91.9 MHz (“CSN Radio”), and Salem-owned non-secular spoken word KPDQ-FM 93.9.