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Lease agreement puts WAVL in Apollo back on the air

| Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016, 9:00 p.m.

Five months after WAVL 910 AM went dark, the station licensed in Apollo is back on the air under a lease agreement with Colonial Radio Group.

WAVL went back on the air Wednesday.

It is broadcasting Colonial's “The Mountain” format, which plays a variety of music from contemporary hits to classics.

“We're looking forward to having a local focus on the station again, specifically for the Alle-Kiski Valley,” Colonial Media owner Jeff Andrulonis said.

Colonial is finalizing an asset purchase agreement with WAVL owner Evangel Heights Assembly of God in Buffalo Township, he said. The sale won't be final until the Federal Communications Commission approves the purchase, which is typically a three-month process, Andrulonis said.

Once the sale is final, likely sometime in April, Colonial plans to hire local on-air personalities, he said. They're currently looking for office and studio space, he said.

In February, the station will begin broadcasting Penguins games and expects to air NASCAR races this summer, Andrulonis said.

Colonial operates four FM stations in the Bradford area and five FM stations in the Olean, N.Y., market. WAVL will be the company's only AM station.

Andrulonis said he previously owned five AM stations in North Carolina and one in Williamsport.

“It's an easy way for folks to be able to listen to music, news and information,” he said.

WAVL will continue to broadcast at 5,000 watts during daylight hours. Because the station is low on the AM dial, it gets a better signal and broadcasts can be heard from Butler to Greensburg, Andrulonis said.

The station had been off the air since July 31, when Evangel Heights was granted FCC permission to go silent while it sought a buyer.

The church has owned the station since 2001. It first aired local programs and Christian music. In 2004, the station switched to syndicated Christian music programming.

Evangel Heights switched formats in 2009 to conservative talk radio under the name Liberty 910.

The church attempted to sell the station to Kittanning's Family-Life Media-Com in 2013, but the sale never materialized.

No one from Evangel Heights could be reached for comment.

Jodi Weigand is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-226-4702 or jweigand@tribweb.com.

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