Radio One buys WERQ for $9 million

AIRCHECK

April 02, 1993|By Steve McKerrow | Steve McKerrow,Staff Writer

Baltimore radio station WERQ-AM/FM (1010/92.3) has been sold for an estimated $9 million to the Radio One group, which owns WWIN-AM/FM (1400/95.9) here, as well as the joint WOL/WMMJ-AM/FM operation in Washington.

The purchase, announced by current owner, United Broadcasting, requires approval by the Federal Communications Commission and would be completed in midsummer. No immediate changes in format or staff were announced.

The transaction marks Baltimore's first "duopoly" deal, meaning ownership of more than one station operation in a single market. The arrangement was made possible by a change in FCC regulations last year.

WERQ-FM, known as "92 Q," broadcasts a rhythmic, contemporary-hit music format, which ranked eighth in the fall Arbitron ratings.

WERQ-AM carries the CNN Radio news service. Radio One President Alfred Liggins said this week that the AM outlet would probably beswitched on completion of the sale to simulcast the soul-talk format of WOL-AM.

*

The FCC gave final approval last week to the sale of WITH-AM to the Capitol Kids Radio Co. of Bethesda, which plans to change the station to a children's format.

But Lawrence Kessner, co-owner of Capitol Kids, said it will be late this month or early in May before the new format goes on the air here. The mix of syndicated and local programming aimed at children of elementary and middle school age is billed as Radio Aahs (as in "oohs and aahs").

Mr. Kessner and partner Virginia Carson have also recently purchased stations in Silver Spring and Northern Virginia to carry the programming. The Silver Spring outlet, WNTR-AM (1050), launched the kids' format last month.

Among the on-air voices is that of Kenny Curtis, who can be seen on the daily "Fox 45 Clubhouse" show on WBFF-Channel 45.

Fans of the current big band/nostalgia format on WITH, meanwhile, may have some good news in store.

When the station held a dance recently at Hunt Valley, attendees were told the current managers of the station hope to announce soon that they have purchased another local AM station to carry the format.

"We can't say anything specific, but we're hopeful," said Paul Kopelke, WITH operations/sales manager, who is involved in the potential purchase with station Manager Jim Ward and other investors.

*

Play ball! WBAL-AM (1090) plans a daylong Opening Day celebration Monday, as the Orioles open the 1993 season at Oriole Park at Camden Yards against the Texas Rangers.

* Dave Durian and the Morning Team plan a baseball edition of their daily wake-up show, beginning at 5 a.m.

* "The Dan Rodricks' Opening Day Party" begins at 9 a.m., live from the stadium.

* Pregame "Orioles Talk With Jeff Rimer" can be heard at noon.

* Chuck Thompson and Fred Manfra begin their game broadcast at 1 p.m.

* And after the game, Mr. Rimer re-hashes the day with callers until 8:30 p.m., when the station joins the CBS Radio network for broadcast of the NCAA Basketball Championship Game from New Orleans.

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