Showing posts with label Salem Communications. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Salem Communications. Show all posts

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Maybe not safe from the Catholics

Well, perhaps Omaha's heritage Christian station, KGBI -- which bills itself as "Safe for the Whole Family" -- isn't quite safe from the Catholics after all, as Spirit Catholic Radio (KVSS) seeks to better its position on the FM dial.

BASED ON the vague information on the KVSS website and a review of signal-contour maps for the city's 100 kilowatt FM stations, I had thought that The Big O (KOOO 101.9 FM) might be KVSS' acquisition target.

But after delving into old contour maps and applications for construction permits on the Federal Communications Commission database (dating from before KGBI moved its main transmitter to northwest Omaha from Springfield, Neb.), it looks more and more like Spirit Catholic Radio actually wants to buy KGBI.

And we know that, in other markets, Salem Communications -- KGBI's owner -- has been willing to sell.

IN MILWAUKEE, Salem is selling off its "Fish" branded contemporary-Christian music FM station, as well as its AM station. And in 2006, it sold its Jacksonville, Fla., contemporary-Christian station to Cox Radio. And that's just two of what might be many more sales by Salem.

From Radio Ink, here is a story dated March 4:

During Salem Communications' fourth-quarter and full-year earnings conference call Tuesday, CEO Ed Atsinger detailed Salem's sales since its last call -- Salem has announced the sales of WHKZ-AM/Warren, OH, for $600,000; KTEK-AM/Houston, for $7.8 million; and WFZH-FM and WRRD-AM/Milwaukee, for $11.8 million -- and said, "We will continue to monitor the performance of our broadcast stations generally, and we are actively engaged in negotiations, I can say at this time, for the sale of some additional properties."

Atsinger also updated the progress of Salem's newest format, Spanish-language Christian Teaching & Talk, saying the company now has four stations on the air in the format, and "the early results are encouraging, both in terms of revenue and station operating income." He said more stations can be expected to move to Spanish Christian Teaching & Talk in the coming months.

Later, Atsinger discussed the state of the industry, saying, "We're fully aware of the challenges facing the radio industry. Salem clearly faces the same challenges." He said Salem has been hit particularly hard by the problems in the subprime mortgage market "because of our target demographic attracting a substantial number of advertisers from the mortgage and home-improvement industries." He said, "Many of these advertisers are gone. We believe that they will come back, but we expect that this particular challenge will remain with us for some time."
WOULD KGBI be one of those "additional properties"? That now looks likely, given what Omaha evidence there is to go on. Salem purchased what was then The Bridge from Grace University for $10 million in late 2004.

Let's take another look at that "proposed coverage" map KVSS posted on its website:

And now, a contour map for KGBI -- when the main transmitter was on its Springfield tower -- from a 2004 application for a minor change to its FCC license:

The 60 dBu signal contour is the same as the KVSS proposed coverage area. And, looking at
the previous post, we note that the pattern is identical to that in The Big O's signal map.

There's a reason for that. According to an old KGBI filing with the FCC, when the station was on the Springfield tower, it shared an antenna with KOOO.
Same power, same antenna, same coverage pattern.

So, I'm changing my bet back to what my original suspicion was before digging into the FCC database the first time -- KVSS is trying to buy KGBI. And the Catholic station intends to move back to the Springfield transmitter site to better cover Lincoln and southeast Nebraska.

I think. If it's not KGBI, it's got to be KOOO. And vice versa.

As always, stay tuned.