One Atlanta Christian Station
Off the Air,
Another One Coming
EMF will soon be joining a a crowded Christian
music market in Atlanta with a brand new station this summer at 106.7FM.
But, you're thinking, 'wait, isn't that where The Kimmer is on and where
I listen to the Braves? Yes and no.
Cumulus Media has been going through
some financial struggles and has been forced to sell off many of their
stations around the country. On February 13, Cumulus agreed to sell six
of its stations to Educational Media Foundation for $103.5 million. One
of those is WYAY, also called Talk 106.7FM. Savannah's 102.1 The Sound
is included in the deal.
If you're familiar with K-Love, that's
the reported format that you'll be hearing later this year on 106.7FM.
The Fish's program director, Mike Blakemore, told the AJC that his
station focuses on local programming. K-Love is national.
That national format will now be on a huge 565 stations nationwide.
Salem Broadcasting's 104.7 The Fish,
WFSH-FM and Radio Training Network's 93.3 The Joy-FM, WVFJ are already
averaging around a 6 share combined (and The Fish hitting number one in
the holidays when it is the only all-Christmas station in the Atlanta
Joining them is the long running
Victory 91.5 with a loyal audience as well.
Like new acquisition 106.7 WYAY Gainesville, the signals are not based in
Atlanta proper with WFSH-FM and WYAY both sharing the same tower out in
suburban Gwinnett County. The difference being that 106.7 operates with
77kW to WFSH-FM's 24kW. That will give EMF the signal advantage out of
the gate in one of the most affluent suburbs in America.
Cumulus has failed for years to find a successful format for the signal with
attempts at Oldies, News, and Conservative Talk since Cumulus acquired
106.7 will remain a news talk station
for the next few months while Cumulus and EMF await FCC approval of the
sale. Once the sale is approved, the station will flip to one of EMF's
Christian formats, either Christian AC "K-Love" or Worship "Air1."
Cumulus had an FM deal with the Braves
and are now renegotiating to find another option, possibly WNNX (Rock
100.5), which carried the team from 2010 to 2013.
Cumulus, who got out of bankruptcy last
June, knocked over a billion dollars off its debt balance. They still
own 440 radio stations nationwide including four in Atlanta (Kicks
101.5, Q99.7 Rock 100.5, OG 97.9 and 99X. It's the second largest radio
operator in the nation after IHeartMedia.
And, as the new 106.7 frequency is
added to the Christian radio ranks, another is in limbo.
A few months ago, on November 18, 2018,
after 38 years as an Atlanta gospel station, WYZE Radio/1480AM went off
the air. As its website says, "The radio staff received no warning, no
chance to say 'goodbye' to our loyal listeners, no chance for all the
ministries on the station to give a parting Word.'
Bishop Ray Neal, who had been on
the air weeknights with "The Power of Praise" broadcast for over 30
years. Six weeks later, on January 7, 2019, Neal bought the 10kW day/44w
night AM WYZE with his retirement funds. He is now looking to
raise the $300,000 needed to get it back up and running.
As they say, stay tuned.