Centennial Licensing is selling WLNI-FM Lynchburg VA to Mel Wheeler Inc., a group which is already loaded for bear in the Roanoke-Lynchburg market. In fact, this will be its sixth FM station in the area.
The station is going for $1.025M cash in a deal brokered by Media Services Group. The seller will be retaining a pair of FMs in the area, so certain assets, including real estate and the tower, are not included — the sale of those two stations to a third party is pending.
Here is what the Mel Wheeler cluster will include if this deal makes it to the finish line:
* WFIR-AM Roanoke, a Class B on 960 kHz with 5 kW-U, DAN, serving the Roanoke portion of the market
* WVBE-AM Roanoke, a Class B on 610 kHz with 5 kW-D, 1 kW-N, DA2, serving the Roanoke portion of the market
* WSLQ-FM Roanoke, a Class C on 99.1 MHz with 190.9 kW @ 1,962’, serving both Roanoke and Lynchburg
* WXLK-FM Roanoke, a Class C on 92.3 MHz with 92.3 kW @ 1,985’, serving both Roanoke and Lynchburg
* WSLC-FM Roanoke, a Class C on 94.9 MHz with 98 kW @ 1,982’, serving both Roanoke and Lynchburg
* WVBE-FM Lynchburg, a Class C3 on 100.1 MHz with 20 kW @ 328’, serving the Lynchburg portion of the market
* WVBB-FM Elliston-Lafayette VA, a Class A on 97.9 MHz with 260 W @ 1,542’, serving the Roanoke portion of the market
* WLNI-FM Lynchburg, a Class A on 105.9 MHz with 6 kW @ 266’, serving the Lynchburg portion of the market
RBR-TVBR observation: This deal may require special treatment to get off the ground. Under the old contour market definition, there would likely be no problem, since there is a certain amount of distance between Roanoke and Lynchburg, and only the strongest stations are able to cover both. Only three of Wheeler’s stations are able to do so.
However, the market-based definition at best allows for only five FMs. Wheeler said that WVBB-FM is not part of the market, but the contour clearly encompasses Roanoke, so we think that making the case it is not an in-market station will be a bit difficult. If that is the case, we believe this deal would require an FCC waiver to go through.
But we are not communications engineers, communications lawyers or regulators. Maybe the members of those communities see something here we don’t. Stay tuned.