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Thread: siilent AM stations

  1. #1
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    siilent AM stations

    Radio companies are allowing AM stations to go silent.
    Why not sell these stations? No buyers?

  2. #2
    Unregistered
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    AM silent

    Even clear channel & cumulus have allowed some AM stations to go silent?
    Are they unable or unwillling to sell them ?

  3. #3
    There are probably lots of reasons. I suspect a primary reason is because of the slim possibility a new owner could become a competitor. This may be magnified by the current rattling noises from the FCC that there could be a special filing window for AM stations to get an FM translator. If that happens, it certainly raises the stakes. There is also some valid thought that the only way to improve the AM band is to "thin the herd." Sometimes getting rid of one or two under-performing stations allows others in the group to relocate, raise power or change directional patterns. Even if they don't own another station that could be improved by shutting down the station, someone else may be willing to pay decent money to have them turn in the licence so they can upgrade their facility. The FCC rules for AM tend to encourage that idea since they were written years ago when night time coverage was considered to be really important. To be fair, night time is still is important, but the opportunity for most AM's to be anything other than a local service at night has pretty well gone by the wayside. There are way too many stations on the same frequency and the AM band becomes a big RF sewer at night. That problem isn't helped by the proliferation of noise generating products in your home like CFL's, computers, TV's etc.

    There is also the thought that the sum of the parts is worth more than the entire station. This is especially true for stations that were built on the edge of town 50 years ago, and now the town has expanded past that location. AM radio transmitter sites, especially if they are directional, takes up a lot of real estate. Turning the licence may look attractive if somebody is willing to pay serious money for the land to build a new shopping center, housing development, etc.

  4. #4

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    There are two people in my household. Until last week, we owned THREE vehicles. Why did I hang onto them so long? What if I sell it too cheap? Will someone now come along and ask: "You still got that Camry that has been parked in your driveway? What do you want for it?"

    I cranked up it up and got it serviced and drove it for a couple of days before I kissed it goodbye and all the while.... I was asking myself... you sure you want to do this?

    I could see Emotional Attachment, Fear of selling too cheap, and Pack-Rat-ism being much, much stronger if I owned a radio station that had been in the family for 30 years. I had only owned the dumb old car for 14 years... and I almost cried.

    Serious answer to the original post: You cannot believe how far apart we can be on what a station is worth: I was asked $750,000 when I asked about one a few years ago. When I ran the numbers, I concluded any offer over $127,000 was out of the question so I think I suggested I would offer $120,000. That ended the conversation very quickly!
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goat Rodeo Cowboy View Post
    Serious answer to the original post: You cannot believe how far apart we can be on what a station is worth: I was asked $750,000 when I asked about one a few years ago. When I ran the numbers, I concluded any offer over $127,000 was out of the question so I think I suggested I would offer $120,000. That ended the conversation very quickly!
    And that is the crux of the matter. Ever since the FCC had required financial filings 50 or more years ago, we have known that half of US stations don't make money. Of course, some of the break-evens support an owner-operator, but there is no surplus.

    As more and more AMs start to lose money, and as more small owner operators retire or pass away, there is no market for those stations. Some sell cheap, others are just put off the air.

    A poster from the Manistee / Ludington are of Michigan has mentioned that both the Ludington AM and the Manistee one are gone. I met the owners of each in the 60's and they were nice little profitable businesses. As FM became viable, those community AMs survived a while under the traditional local owners like Ray Plank in Ludington. But when they no longer ran the stations, they declined into positions of no value.

    The traditional AM in a small market sells to local businesses. With the decline of main street, local cable insertions and local websites and city directories, there is not as much radio revenue to be had.[/SIZE][/FONT]
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  6. #6
    WHDM in McKenzie, TN (the first station that I ever worked for) sold for "$1.00 plus assumption of all debts" back around 1996 or so. A year later, they sold for $27,000. I saw that in one of the trade papers. I had to think that the building alone was probably worth that. Since the previous owner's wife was listed as the seller, I have to assume that he had died by that time. The station is still on the air (with an FM translator), so I have to assume that they have made it. They were off the air for a couple of years in the mid-'90s.

  7. #7

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    Is that the station that actually operated from the home of the owner? One of my kids went on a church mission trip and they stayed in McKenzie or a neighboring town and she and a few others were hosted by a family who owned a radio station.... and the studios were in their home. If this was not the station, I guess you would knw which one it would have been.
    Life is too short to waste time dancing with ugly posts

  8. #8
    FredLeonard
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    Too many AM stations as it is. Clear the dead wood and give potentially healthy trees a chance.

  9. #9
    Unregistered
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    But, the FCC forcing unprofitable stations off the air as some people have suggested
    seems Un--American to me.

    And, if the dead wood is cleared away , how will it help other AM stations be more profitable? I agree
    It might remove interference from the AM band.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post

    But, the FCC forcing unprofitable stations off the air as some people have suggested
    seems Un--American to me.
    There is a distinction that needs to be added to you comment. It has always been American for a person to be the benefactor of some enterprise if they wish to plow money into it. Ladies in small towns have run dress shops because it gives them something to do. And if it didn't make money, but her husband's family business provided adequate income, then the dress shop continued on and on.

    Some radio stations are that way. In fact, some of the very finest small stations have thrived and survived on love rather than income.

    The debate today seems to be what to do with stations that no one can make profitable, but dreamers and schemers keep buying them and trying to "flip them" like some people do with rundown houses. Flippers with too much phony credit in the housing industry just about crashed our nation circa 2007-2008.

    Some would argue that the radio industry has been sustained with too much "phony credit" available to people who may be more interested in flipping radio stations than actually owning and RUNNING them long term, but there are some stations (if we use the housing image) that are slum-lord properties. It is quite American for local jurisdictions to declare a neighborhood to be deficient, buy up all the property, and re-purpose the property into something new and useful.

    There are always some hurt and angry people when re-development comes along, but sometimes that is the ONLY answer.

    We have a lot of political fighting over how to handle zoning and neighborhoods and housing. Why would 'cleaning up broadcasting' be any different?
    Life is too short to waste time dancing with ugly posts

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