If you’ve been around Loudoun County for any length of time and followed local radio, you may find this a bit interesting.
It comes from website www.dcrtv.com, and notes that “Herndon-based Potomac Radio Group is buying WCRW, 1190, in Leesburg and WUST, 1120, Washington, from Falls Church-based Potomac Radio.” Selling price for each was $750,000.
If you ever followed the escapades of Leesburg’s WAGE, that station eventually became WCRW. Potomac Radio purchased WAGE, promising to keep it local, but ended up combining it with another station they owned so they could up the power and create a 50,000-watt powerhouse AM signal. The company had owned the 1190 frequency, and WAGE was on 1200, so one of them had to go. They were combined into the 1190 frequency.
To get the tower approval to up the power to 50,000 watts, these owners again had to persuade the community they would continue with local programming, which they did. But shortly after they got the approval they had long wanted, they abandoned those notions and became a brokered station for China Radio International. Such brokered programming is exactly what their other station – WUST 1120 – did. It was if that had been their plan from the very beginning.
The reason for the sale now is obvious. The owner of the company died in June of 2015, and the contract with China Radio International, according to DCRTV, is due to expire at the end of the year. The station would almost have to start over from scratch in terms of format and revenue stream, which usually makes the conditions right to sell to somebody else and let them come up with a new plan.
It brings to a close a long and interesting chapter in local radio that I had a front row seat for, having been WAGE’s General Manager for about a year and a half before all this happened. Not familiar with WAGE? Well, here is something I wrote about them on their 50th anniversary back in 2008: