UTICA/ROME -- The locally-owned Roser Communications Network is one big step closer to picking up another radio station. The FCC announced today that it has approved Roser's plan to buy WRCK 100.7 from Educational Media Foundation. The $425,000 deal was first revealed in November.
California-based EMF usually makes headlines in the national trades for buying stations across the country, to help expand the footprint of its two nationally-syndicated Christian music networks: K-Love and Air1. But in the Utica-Rome market, EMF has been operating three stations: 100.7 WRCK, 107.3 WKVU, and 93.5 WOKR.
EMF probably never planned on running all three stations as long as it did. A few years ago, EMF leased out WOKR to the "God's Country" network. Although the deal would have eventually provided GCN an option to buy the station outright, GCN folded in late 2010. To fill the vacancy, EMF plugged-in Air1 on WOKR, giving the network two affiliates in the same market (the other being 100.7 WRCK).
As of Tuesday afternoon, Air1 programming was still running on 100.7 WRCK, but it won't be for long: the sales contract posted on the FCC website in November states EMF must hand the keys over to Roser within 10 days of the FCC's approval. While that approval was just announced in today's FCC Daily Digest, it was actually granted on January 26. The FCC's approval of the sale also includes an approval for WRCK to switch from non-commercial to commercial status.
Still no word on what Roser Communications plans to do with WRCK, but some observers in the Mohawk Valley suspect Roser might use 100.7 to boost the reach of 95.5 WUTQ, a hybrid news/talk/music format currently simulcasting on an FM translator (W238CA) and AM stations WUTQ and WADR.
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