TSMW received word of it Friday morning, and spent Friday afternoon tracking down the situation... and here's what's known now after I had a sit-down interview with Tim Gallagher of Great Lakes Media:
WCVG-AM 1320/Covington is being sold by Davidson Media Group. The buyers are Mr. Gallagher and Michael Fortin, who run Great Lakes Radio out of Chicago, Illinois. The sale price as posted by the FCC (WARNING: Large file and capital letters) here is $472,500. Great Lakes already owns WBGX-AM 1570 up in Chicago, and has owned stations in Detroit and Cleveland also.
No, I didn't mistype. The station is being bought for 25% of what Davidson paid for it some time back, Gallagher told me yesterday.
Gallagher heard back in December that the station was for sale, and just before Christmas came and looked at it, he told me.
Gallagher said that the plan, and indeed what's already started happening, is that they will sell airtime on the station to local churches which in turn will use that for ministering to the local community. Yes, most of that programming will be pre-recorded. The way Gallagher put it yesterday was that the churches aren't promoting the station so much as they are their local ministries...something no other station is doing for Tri-State churches. (WCKY 1530 and WLW 700 both do broadcast church programming, however none of the programming is locally based in Cincinnati.)
The bottom line, Gallagher says, is that they're filling a niche that nobody else is doing, and they intend to do it 24 hours a day.
To yours truly, the fact that they're doing all of this with a 500 watt daytime/430 watt nighttime signal is remarkable. The nighttime signal doesn't reach much of the Ohio side of the market, and even though daytime isn't much better, it DOES cover much of the city of Cincinnati. (No, Gallagher didn't tell me of any plans to upgrade...and anyway, they sit between 1230 WDBZ-AM/Cincinnati and 1360 WSAI-AM/Cincinnati...both of which use 1000 or more watts of power 24 hours a day.)
Anyway, hopefully this sale will help WCVG succeed in radio...especially today's market. After all, locally based programming is a good thing. And locally based programming that isn't being done anywhere else is a really good thing.
Special thanks to Tim Gallagher for allowing me to sit down and talk with him about what's going on with WCVG.
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