2017-06-21 / Front Page

New radio station owners seek buyer

by Trish Rudder

The former WDHC (Max 92.9) radio station in Berkeley Springs that was sold to Metro Radio, Inc. in January is up for sale again.

According to a press release to The Morgan Messenger from Metro chief operations officer Kelly Koonce, “Metro Radio is looking to sell the land, tower and AM WCST (along with its new translator when we get that on air).”

“We will be filing for a FM translator for WCST AM 1010 when the window opens later this month,” Koonce wrote.

“Once the translator is put on air we will be asking $250,000 for the land, tower, WCST AM 1010 and the new FM Translator (Land $150,000 + AM/FM $100,000.) We would sell the AM/FM Combo alone for $100,000 with a 20 year tower lease (10 year, with two five year renewals.) Tower Lease amount is negotiable.”

The former station was owned by Capper Broadcasting for more than 20 years and played a combination of country and rock and roll music and kept the community informed of weather alerts and school closings.

In March, the new owners changed the programming and began broadcasting in Spanish, like its other Metro-owned radio stations in the Washington, D.C. area, including WTNT 92.9 FM, WTNT AM 730, WKDV 106.3 FM, 97.5 FM, 102.9 FM and WKDV 1460 AM, according to the company website.

The Berkeley Springs community was very unhappy with the change and a petition was circulated to organize efforts to restore its local programming.

In May, Diane Smith, who owns BuddyLou’s Eats, Drinks and Antiques in Hancock leased the station from Metro and began broadcasting from a booth in her restaurant. It’s the new location of the rock station, WXDC 92.9 that replaced the former WDHC 92.9 on the FM radio dial.

Smith said earlier that she had been interested in buying the station from Capper last year and keeping it local, but Capper wanted to sell and close on a deal by the end of 2016.

Smith said Metro Radio owner Bruce Houston contacted her after the station sale and offered to lease the station to her, but without the possibility of broadcasting from the Berkeley Springs station property. She said Houston contacted her because she was “next in line” to buy the station.

Smith responded to Metro’s press release on Monday stating “Buddylou’s Broadcasting will continue to operate WXDC FM, MAX 92.9 under its lease agreement with Metro Radio, Inc.”

According to the application to transfer the broadcast license in a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) filing last November, the station was sold for $365,000. Excluded from the sale were operations related to SKYWEB, a local internet service provider. Under the proposed purchase agreement, Metro Radio would lease space on the stations’ radio tower back to SKYWEB to keep their equipment on the tower.

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