Format of station may change

Web posted December 5, 1996

By Tom Corwin
Staff Writer

Beasley Broadcasting will add its fourth radio station next week when it enters into a lease agreement for WCHZ. But what loyal listeners will hear when they tune in next is still up in the air, said Kent Dunn, vice president and general manager of WGAC.

The station will be the 27th for the Naples, Fla.-based company and follows a trend of “clustering” or buying up stations in the same market, as it has done in other cities such as Charlotte and Philadelphia, Mr. Dunn said.

The deal was made possible by the federal Telecommunications Act passed earlier this year that now allows stations to own up to four FM and two AM stations in the same market.

The lease will eventually lead to a sale in February but because of the long delay in approval from the Federal Communications Commission, it is better to operate under a lease until then, Mr. Dunn said. GMR Broadcasting of Whitfish, Mont., currently holds the license in WCHZ. Eric Hall, general manager of WCHZ, did not return two calls seeking comment.

Tracy McLain handed CD by colleague.
DJ Tracy McLain of WCHZ takes a compact disk from her colleague. Photo: Steve Shelton/Augusta Chronicle Staff

Until they take over next week, Beasley management is not saying what format the station will take.

More than likely, it will not be what Beasley is already offering through its three other stations – news-talk, oldies, and `nostalgia’ music,” Mr. Dunn said.

“There’s only so many shares (audience) in news and talk and sports,” he said. The company will analyze the market and try and find a niche that is “underserved,” Mr. Dunn said.

What Beasley is doing just follows what is happening in markets across the country as bigger stations buy up smaller competitors, said Dave Bartlett, president of the Radio and Television News Directors Association in Washington, D.C. As radio continues to diversify into more and more formats, it gives companies a chance to cover more segments of the market, Mr. Bartlett said.

“There’s no sense in competing against yourself,” he said.