Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Two Columbus Sales

There's new word on two Columbus broadcasting sales, one just announced, the other approved by regulators.

APPROVED: The TVNewsday trade website reports that the FCC has given its blessing to the previously announced sale of Columbus market station WSFJ/51 Newark by Guardian Enterprise Group to religious superbroadcaster Trinity Broadcasting Network.

WSFJ has been the Columbus market affiliate of the ION Network, though it's gone off on its own direction in the past year or so.

Guardian is leaving station ownership for a new direction: starting its own new ".2 Network", aimed at filling broadcast stations' digital subchannel space with movies. The company says the $16 million TBN will spend for WSFJ will fund the new network.

And it looks like - as expected here - that ".2" ("dot-two") won't be airing on WSFJ-DT 51.2.

Though it'll continue to operate the WSFJ physical plant for Trinity, Guardian tells the FCC that it won't provide any programming to the TBN folks - which means Trinity will light up all of the WSFJ digital subchannels with its own slate of religious programming ("The Church Channel", "Enlace" and the like, seen on TBN O&O's like WDLI-DT/17 Canton).

If ".2 Network" adds Columbus to its affiliate roster, it'll be through a deal with some other local Guardian hinted in its very first release about the new network...

AND ON THE RADIO SIDE: A newly announced deal in Columbus, as Salem exits the market.

Salem is selling its sole station in Ohio's capital city, Christian talk/teaching WRFD/880 Columbus-Worthington "The Word", to prominent crosstown religious broadcaster Christian Voice of Central Ohio.

CVCO owns Christian contemporary mainstay WCVO/104.9 Gahanna "The River" in the Columbus market, and several other stations in Ohio and other states. It picks up WRFD for a cool $4 million.

(And yes, WRFD is licensed by the FCC to "Columbus-Worthington".)

Does 880 become the new flagship of CVCO's "Promise Network", which airs on the small market FMs the company acquired from the old Cincinnati-based "X-Star Network" in Chillicothe, West Union and Richmond IN?

What "Promise" airs now would certainly seem compatible with the current WRFD offerings, though of course, the three FMs are non-commercial. We don't know how the brokered religious programming airing on commercial WRFD would be able to fit with that.

Tom Taylor's "Taylor on Radio-Info" column notes that Salem "never found any brothers and sisters" for the 23,000 watt daytimer it has owned for years.

The company's been selling off stations in markets like that, or even in Milwaukee WI - where it owned two stations, a Christian talk/teaching outlet and a rimshot "Fish" CCM station.

And connecting it back to Ohio, of course, WKNR/850 Cleveland owner Good Karma Broadcasting picked up that Christian talk/teaching station as the new home for its "ESPN Milwaukee"...

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