FCC approves Z95.5 sale to Saga Communications

December 27, 2013 by

ITHACA -- Two CHR competitors are one step closer to becoming part of the same family, raising questions as to their future.  In today's edition of its Daily Digest, the FCC announced it has approved the sale of Z95.5 (WFIZ) to Saga Communications, the owner of rival Hits 103.3 (W277BS, simulcasting WYXL-HD2).

The $715,000 sale, initially announced last month, includes translators W235BR, W242AB and W299BI.  Today, the FCC announced the applications for assignment of license have been granted.

But it could still be awhile before the deal closes.  Z95.5 and the three translators are owned by ROI Broadcasting, Inc., which itself is owned 49% by George Kimble and 51% by Alan Bishop.  ROI was ordered to sell the stations after Kimble and his wife filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  In addition to FCC approval, the deal is also subject to bankruptcy court approval.  While neither buyer nor seller has any control over the timing of the process, both are hopeful they can close before January 31, so Saga has ample time to file the necessary paperwork for station license renewals prior to a February 3 deadline.

Until about five years ago, the Ithaca/Cortland market went for many years without any CHR-formatted stations.  Suddenly, ROI Broadcasting's Z 95.5 (WFIZ) launched, and days later, Saga added Hits 103.3 (W277BS, simulcasting WYXL-HD2).  Now, the two competitors are a big step closer to being part of the same family.

Saga hasn't announced its plans for the new additions, but companies typically don't run two same-format stations against each other.  Last month when the sale was first announced, we ran down some possible post-sale scenarios.  We'll keep an eye out for new developments... of course, any readers closer to Ithaca also have the advantage of being able to hear radio signals that we can't get here in Syracuse.  Feel free to help keep us posted on developments!

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