Station owner may determine new studio site
McKeesport still will have its hometown radio station, the prospective new owner of WMNY-1360 said on Friday.
“We will meet the needs of the area, the city of license, we have no intention to change that,” said Bishop Loran E. Mann, pastor of Pentecostal Temple Church of God in Christ in East Liberty and executive director of Pentecostal Temple Development Corp.
Renda Broadcasting asked the Federal Communications Commission to approve a donation of WMNY to PTDC, owner of New Kensington's WGBN-1150, a gospel music station. The new AM 1360 also will have a Christian format.
“We're going to continue to do what we already are doing on WGBN,” Mann said. “It may become a simulcast, it may be a separate entity.”
Mann said his engineers will research whether there is still a need to expand AM 1150's coverage, and where to locate AM 1360's new studios.
“We may have to consider an alternate site,” Mann said.
Since 1998, the FCC has allowed stations to operate studios within 25 miles of the center of the city of license.
While highway distances range from 24-27 miles between the two cities, WGBN's studio along Seventh Street in New Kensington is approximately 15 air miles from downtown McKeesport.
AM 1360 uses 5,000 daytime watts from Greenfield, 1,000 at night from Lincoln.
“To be as strong at night as we are in the daytime at WGBN is a major accomplishment,” Mann said. WGBN has 1,000 watts by day, 70 watts by night.
“WMNY, in its news/talk format, didn't have much of a unique differentiator to separate us from (WPGB) 104.7, KDKA (1020), or even KQV (1410),” Renda senior vice president Alan Serena said. “After the passing of Ron Morris, and the demise of The American Entrepreneur radio program a year ago, that gap grew even wider.”
With an afternoon drivetime talk show, Morris anchored a “money” format for AM 1360.
In September 2011, WMNY went to general talk with national shows and America's Radio News Network. Morris stayed in the 3-6 p.m. slot until his death on June 6, 2012.
WMNY touts a “be informed” slogan, with a simulcast of WTAE-4's morning news, NBC news on the hour, ARNN in morning drive, local traffic and WTAE weather.
“When we were based in East McKeesport, and focused 1360 as a Mon Valley radio station, and had a strong presence of local news, high school sports, and community events ... we created a unique brand that was then embraced by local advertisers and we survived. Even I doubt that this concept would work in today's environment,” Serena said.
“It's easier for sellers to sell advertisers a $10,000 ad schedule on (WSHH) than it is a $300 schedule on (AM) 1360,” Serena said.
Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.