Adult contemporary format station WJBR-FM has been sold by Beasley Media Group to a religious broadcasting organization for a reported $5 million, Radio Insight reported.
The sale gives Milwaukee-based VCY America a powerful signal in the Delaware Valley for its format. VCY has building a nationwide network for its programming of traditional music and talk geared toward the Evangelical Christians. It recently acquired a signal that reaches into the heavily populated Tri-State area around New York City.
WjBR has long competed with Forever Media’s WSTW for the top spot in the northern Delaware market, at times, topping STW in the ratings book.
Beasley has worked over the years to build a major presence in the Delaware Valley radio market, but like its competitors cut costs as revenues declined. Philadelphia-based rival Audacy is also struggling and has sold off radio stations and made other cost-cutting moves.
Retired longtime WJBR morning host Michael Waite said the sale came as a shock.
“I always through it would be protected,” Waite said of WJBR, noting that northern Delaware lacks a for-profit TV station that would compete for advertising dollars.
While the future of the station unclear, VCY has typically purchased stations and carried its programming on the acquired frequency.
Should that be the final outcome, he believes the sale would be a major blow to Delaware’s nonprofit community. WJBR is a sponsor of many fund-raising events. He also sees little benefit for remaining stations, since competition keeps stations on their toes. He was quick to add that WSTW has a high quality staff
The sale is also an example of the the decline in the value of even top rated radio stations.
In 2006, Beasley acquired WJBR for $42.1 million in 2006, an eye-popping number at the time, since the 50,000 watt station did not have a large market share outside Delaware.
Beasley’s stock price has declined over the past couple of decades from about $16 a share to $1.28. The stock market value of Beasley is now below the $42.1 million price of WJBR.
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Correction: A headline in an earlier version of the story incorrectly identified the radio station call letters as WSTW