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FCC approves broadcaster's donation

| Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013, 12:56 a.m.

The Federal Communications Commission has approved Renda Broadcasting's donation of McKeesport-licensed WMNY-1360 to Pentecostal Temple Development Corp.

“I'm looking forward to assuming the reins at WMNY,” Bishop Loran E. Mann said Tuesday afternoon. Mann is pastor of Pentecostal Temple Church of God in Christ in East Liberty and PTDC executive director.

According to papers filed in July, Renda founder Anthony F. Renda was making a charitable contribution of AM 1360.

“I'm extremely thankful to Renda Broadcasting and to Anthony Renda in particular for his vision and foresight for what we hope to do in this market,” Mann said. “It's an exciting time for us and I look forward to it with great anticipation.”

The FCC action on Sept. 25 started the process of moving AM 1360 from Renda's Green Tree studios to the New Kensington studios of PTDC's gospel-format WGBN-1150.

“Hopefully we can have everything completed by Nov. 1,” Mann said.

Mann plans to simulcast WGBN, a 1,000-watt daytime, 70-watt nighttime outlet, over AM 1360, which uses a 5,000-watt non-directional daytime signal from Greenfield and a 1,000-watt directional nighttime signal from Lincoln.

“We will continue to do on a broader scale what we are doing now,” Mann said. “It gives us a much better signal and much better coverage of the Pittsburgh area. It enables us to better serve the community and our clients.”

The WMNY callsign likely won't change immediately, but that may have more to do with the budget-related federal government shutdown than with any plans by PTDC.

The FCC said it was initiating its plans to deal with the shutdown. That effort included restrictions on the FCC website that did not allow access to many of that agency's services.

Mann reiterated an earlier promise to serve his new city of license. “We have to serve the city of license. We are doing that now in New Kensington and around the Pittsburgh area. We will continue to do that. There is no reason to change that.”

He did not plan any changes with AM 1360's signal, but still looks to expand WGBN's signal.

“That has not been shelved,” he said. “That is still on the stove. It is not a back burner issue. We are still considering it.”

The flip to gospel would not affect AM 1360's airing of NBC Radio News, which is carried on WGBN, but WMNY's other national talk shows and news programs would disappear.

Mann said there may be an expansion of American Urban Radio Network programming WGBN carries on the new simulcast.

Some local weekend shows might not disappear, including the George Almasi polka show that airs Sundays on WMNY. “If they are interested in continuing with us we will be happy to continue with them,” Mann said.

Renda senior vice president Alan Serena referred to his July remarks when contacted. “When we were based in East McKeesport, we focused 1360 as a Mon Valley radio station, and had a strong presence of local news, high school sports, and community events,” Serena said. “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.”

WMNY was signed on as WMCK on April 30, 1947 by Mon-Yough Broadcasting Co. In the 1960s it was home to the late Terry Lee's nighttime shows.

WMCK was sold in 1969 to Westchester Corp. and renamed WIXZ.

Renda bought WIXZ in 1974. In 1985 Serena bought WIXZ from Renda for $1.42 million. In 1997 Renda reacquired it for $1.25 million.

In 1998, WIXZ was renamed WPTT and took its current callsign in August 2008.

Renda retains Pittsburgh-licensed and Green Tree-based music outlets WJAS-1320 and WSHH-99.7. Renda's St. Pier Group owns five stations in Indiana and Westmoreland counties including WHJB-107.1 in Greensburg.

Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161 ext. 1967, or pcloonan@tribweb.com.

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