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Two area radio stations return to local owners

Manning Broadcasting was the successful bidder at the auction of three stations, WWEG-FM, WARK-AM and WAFY-FM

May 09, 2012|By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com

Two area radio stations are back in the hands of local owners after being purchased at an auction last week, Manning Broadcasting President Gene Manning confirmed Tuesday.

Manning Broadcasting was the successful bidder for three stations, including two it once owned, WWEG-FM and WARK-AM, according to a notice from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.

Manning Broadcasting Inc. of Hagerstown sold WARX-FM and WARK-AM in 2005 to Nassau Broadcasting Partners of Princeton, N.J., for approximately $18 million, according to a previously published report inThe Herald-Mail. WARX later became WWEG-FM 106.9 The Eagle.

“The company, Nassau Broadcasting that is, was forced into bankruptcy by its creditors,” Manning said.

On May 3 in Wilmington, Del., Manning Broadcasting submitted a successful bid of $6.4 million for those stations and WAFY-FM of Frederick, he said.

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A number of other Nassau Broadcasting stations were also sold at auction to two other bidders. The total of the three bids was nearly $48 million for 17 stations, the court notice said.

Manning Broadcasting had purchased what was then WARX and WARK in 1982, Manning said.

WWEG is an oldies rock station, WARK is talk radio, and WAFY’s format is adult contemporary, Manning said. They employ approximately 25 people, he said.

No major changes are planned in personnel or format, Manning said.

“The people are good, the approach is fine,” Manning said.

“It’s really lifting a burden from their shoulders,” Manning said of the employees, who have had to live with the uncertainty over the future of the stations.

“Local ownership is coming back into the role of day-to-day management,” said Manning, whose brother, Fred, is vice president.

“I’ve been retired for seven years, more or less. Less really,” said Gene Manning, who noted his involvement in Easter Seals, both regionally and nationally.

Nassau Broadcasting did not respond on Wednesday to voicemail and e-mail requests for comment.

Creditors had pushed Nassau Broadcasting into an involuntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition last year, but that was converted to a voluntary Chapter 11 petition last fall, according to a Dow Jones Newswires report.

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