Buyers lined up for radio station
Four months after Evangel Heights said its conservative talk radio station WAVL 910 AM likely would go off the air, the church is considering several “promising” purchase offers.
“We're still actively pursuing interested parties and are in negotiations with multiple people,” said the Rev. Jeff Bogaczyk, associate pastor of Evangel Heights and WAVL general manager.
He declined to name the potential buyers because talks are ongoing.
In February, church officials said WAVL was likely to go off the air in March while the church shopped for a buyer.
Instead, the station has continued to broadcast.
“It's still a challenge, but we do what we have to do,” Bogaczyk said.
The Buffalo Township church originally purchased the 5,000 watt station in May 2001 in hopes of turning it into a Christian ministry that would generate revenue to be used for missions and community endeavors.
The station, previously dubbed Praise 910, broadcasted contemporary Christian music.
But, due to strong competition from FM Christian radio stations such as K-LOVE, the church switched the format to syndicated conservative talk radio. It also features a monthly sports Q&A show hosted by Bob Tatrn of Lower Burrell and a Saturday health and wellness show by a Harrison chiropractor.
Future content would be up to whoever buys the license.
“I'd be disappointed if the station went dark,” said Tatrn, 73. “I do the program because I love sports research and I love to voice the script and just have fun with it.”
When the church took over the station, it cost about $100,000 per year to run, including the salary for several staff members and the general manager. It costs less than that now, church officials said, but it's still a struggle.
Despite that, the church definitely wants to sell or lease the station, not simply have someone take it off their hands, Bogaczyk said.
“When you put a deal out that we're having a difficult time financially, you'll have people that say, ‘why don't you give it to us for free?' he said. “Those types of offers are ridiculous.”
Ray Rosenblum, a Pittsburgh-based media broker who negotiates sales of radio stations, said the license is valuable because the station is low on the AM dial, which offers a better signal.
“The best thing they have is ‘910,' ” Rosenblum said. “They should not give the license away.
“I sell stations that are bankrupt or off the air and I get money for that license.”
Jodi Weigand is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4702 or email@example.com.