Friday, December 29, 2006

WLBY/Ann Arbor sale paperwork filed

All Access reports that the in-the-works swap involving nine Clear Channel stations in Michigan and Cumulus' WRQK-FM in Canton has officially been filed with the FCC.

In the deal, Cumulus sends WRQK to Clear Channel in exchange for four Ann Arbor stations, including progressive talk-oriented WLBY. Included in the deal are four other Michigan stations. Another AM station will be donated to Family Life Broadcasting as a tax write-off.

Obviously, it's way too early to speculate as to what this means for WLBY. The station has been run more or less with sister station WDTW in Detroit, which airs almost identical programming, including Stephanie Miller, Ed Schultz and various shows from Air America Radio. Now the two stations will be separated.

WLBY is a former daytime-only radio station, meaning it broadcasts at its full power, a paltry 500 watts, during the daylight hours before dropping down to a weak 26 watts at night, giving the station a rather fuzzy signal into Ann Arbor after dark. It's likely that the station will retain the progressive talk format, even though Cumulus does not currently own any liberal talk stations. Considering the limitations of the station's signal, WLBY's current format is likely delivering the best ratings the station will ever expect to get, averaging a 1.2 overall share. Many stations in a similar situation are fortunate to obtain even that.


Anonymous said...

It’s no secret, Cumulus is known to be conservative. I doubt they’ll want a liberal talker in their portfolio. Expect it to be similar to WTOD “SuperTalk 1560” in Toledo.

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