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Radio Isn't Dead

So You WANT To Own A Radio Station…


I want to preface this by saying I have never owned a commercial radio station, though perhaps I might manage one before I retire.  I have been a Program Director, Operations Manager, and Assistant PD for several stations.  And I do believe I could manage a small town station if the opportunity ever came along.

I read on radio pages on Facebook and elsewhere people with the dream of owning a station.  So, consider this “Small Town Ownership For Dummies”, a category which fits me well.

Understand that, in your quest to become a radio owner, you will not have the wherewithal to purchase a big station in a big market.  Unless your rich relative is named Trump or you win the Publishers Clearing House $10,000 A Week For Life Sweepstakes, forget that.  A big station is in the millions to tens of millions of dollars.

Even a successful small town FM is going to likely cost you 7 figures.

Best to look for:  a “diamond in the rough”.  Think a small town Class A FM with a signal that covers its home county that may not be making money.  Or an AM daytime or lower power full time station WITH an FM translator, or the ability to get one cheaply.

A standalone class A diamond in the rough FM you might be able to get for between a half million and a million dollars in the right situation.   Think around $350 to $600 grand for the AM/FM Translator and up.

Yeah, I know…some AM’s are selling for as little as $25 grand.  There’s a reason for that. Either the station has been run down to the point it’s falling apart, or the signal is so severely restricted, you be better off with a megaphone. Or perhaps the marketing area is not large enough to support a radio station.  Remember, if it looks too good to be true…it probably is.

You will need a broadcast attorney and a good engineer to fill out the paperwork. Yes, they’re expensive.  No, you can’t get around it.

You will need a small number of good people.  Yes, you will need to pay reasonably, and provide benefits.  Doesn’t mean the kid straight out of college needs $50,000 a year (despite what his professor told him), but you won’t get that kid for minimum wage, either.  Pay what the market can bear. 



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