D.C. radio station owner drops bid to buy WWIN outlets in Baltimore

December 19, 1990|By Blair S. Walker

Radio station owner Cathy Hughes, who owns two outlets in Washington, has dropped her bid to purchase WWIN, 1400 AM and 95.9 FM in Baltimore.

Ms. Hughes said she had two funding sources lined up but characterized their financial terms as unsatisfactory. She had been negotiating to buy WWIN, which is owned by the Ragan Henry Broadcast Group, for at least nine months. The asking price for WWIN was $6.9 million in March, although Ms. Hughes said the price had been reduced since then.

Ms. Hughes, who owns Almic Broadcasting Inc. along with her son, Alfred Liggins, declined to say what the new price tag was.

"I don't like to go into any kind of business deal where all the terms are on one side of the table," said Ms. Hughes, who owns WOL, 1450 AM, and WMMJ, 102.3 FM, in Washington. She and Mr. Henry "are waiting until after the first quarter of the year to reassess the economy, first of all, but also to reassess the availability of broadcast financing," she said.

"Right now, it's a lender's market, and I frankly have too much to place at risk," Ms. Hughes said. "Both of my facilities are on a sound basis right now, and I don't think it makes sense to put both of them at risk to expand into the Baltimore market."

Ms. Hughes bought WOL in 1980 for $1.5 million and WMMJ seven years later for $7.5 million. One media broker placed the stations' worth at about $20 million.

Bob Hughes, president of the Ragan Henry Broadcast Group, said his firm has no plans to sell WWIN to another buyer.

"In a way, I'm glad that the sale is not going through, because I think there's more we can do with the radio station," said Mr. Hughes, who is not related to Cathy Hughes. "I think we're onto something there; the format is being well accepted by both listeners and advertisers. We don't think we've done the maximum we can do with that station. Had Almic Broadcasting closed on it, they would have gotten an excellent broadcasting station.

"Their loss is our gain at this point."

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