Originally posted Wednesday, February 13, 2019 by RODNEY HOemail@example.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog
Atlanta-based Cumulus Media has agreed to sell off several stations including Talk 106.7 (WYAY-FM).
Educational Media Foundation, which runs a national K-Love Christian pop network, will turn 106.7 into that format once the deal closes later this year. The Federal Communications Commission has to give it regulatory clearance.
This means the eventual end of Talk 106.7, which evolved from an all-news station in 2012 to an all-talk station by last year. Its key local talk show hosts - Shelley Wynter, Shannon Burke, Mike Brooks and Kim “The Kimmer Peterson - will be out of jobs in a few months.
Burke’s reaction on Facebook: “Aaaaaand.... I’m on the beach.” And the Kimmer wrote: “It’s been a blast.” Wynter, who is a black conservative, joked : “Now would be a great time to use the race card....lmao.”
The station pulls in decent male numbers during the day and also airs the Atlanta Braves. In 2018, Talk 106.7 ranked 20th among all stations in metro Atlanta with an average of a 1.7 rating, the same as 2017.
There will now be three Christian pop stations on the Atlanta FM dial.
K-Love will battle directly with Fish 104.7, which has never faced such a direct competitor before and has a weaker signal. Joy 93.3 competes with Fish on the south side but will be less impacted given 106.7’s northern skew.
Fish’s program director Mike Blakemore noted that the station focuses on local programming. K-Love is national.
“We share a common mission with our friends at EMF but our models differ in terms of a network approach to programming and listener support,” he said. “104.7 The Fish has been greatly blessed to serve our loyal and generous listeners who have partnered with us to meet hundreds of thousands of dollars of needs in our community. The Fish team has formed a strong local bond with those listeners, and we’ll continue to serve them with fun and encouragement as we continue pointing people to the love of Christ, and serving this community.”
With these new stations, the format juggernaut will soon be on a whopping 565 stations nationwide. The most recent estimated number of listeners I could find is in a Baptist Press story from 2013: 14 million a week.
“We are thrilled to add these stations to the K-LOVE network and for the opportunity to continue to bring people closer to Jesus,” said EMF president and CEO Alan Mason in a press release.
EMF has also purchased stations in Syracuse, Savannah, Washington D.C. and New York, where the legendary station WPLJ will end its 36-year run as a pop station. The six stations were purchased for $103.5 million.
Gary “Wally” Wallace, a Christian morning show host on WAY-FM and former 99X morning show producer from 2003 to 2006, said he admires K-Love’s “family friendly, don’t-ever-push-or-upset-anyone version of Christian radio. I know some of the people there and I do really like them and they do have a great impact on people who need what they do.”
He personally prefers WAY-FM, which allows him to be Wally, “flaws and all, and reach people who maybe have been hurt by the church or aren’t even sure who God is.”
Cumulus also swapped stations with Entercom, dropping stations in New York and Springfield, Mass. in exchange for three stations in Indianapolis.
Cumulus owns about 440 radio stations nationwide. Its remaining Atlanta properties include Kicks 101.5, Q99.7 Rock 100.5, OG 97.9 and 99X. It’s the second largest radio operator in the nation after IHeartMedia.
The company last June got out of bankruptcy protection, shaving about $1 billion off its debt balance, dropping it to about $1.3 billion.
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