Connoisseur cashes out of Ohio River market


SoldA four-station double duopoly is getting set to max out on the FM side in the Huntington WV-Ashland KY market. The deal includes FMs in West Virginia and Ohio, and will be teaming with three Kentucky stations and one in West Virginia.

The stations being sold are WMGA-FM Kenova WV and WXBW-FM Gallipolis OH. Seller Connoisseur is headed by Jeffrey D. Warshaw and Michael O. Driscoll.

The buyer is Fifth Avenue Broadcasting Company Inc., headed by Thomas Wolf and Michael Kirtner.

The price is $1.3M cash.

Although the Gallipolis station is by far the stronger of the two being acquired, it is not situated nearly as well as the Kenova station when it comes to serving Huntington-Ashland. WMGA Kenova’s Class A signal, located on 97.9 MHz with 3.5 kW @ 436’, is nicely centered and covers both of the market’s named cities. WXBW-FM Gallipolis OH is well to the northeast of the market, and despite a 50 kW 492’ Class B signal on 101.5 MHz, it just barely covers Huntington and just misses Ashland.

Fifth Avenue’s other stations are WCMI-AMM and WDGG-FM Ashland KY, WCMI-FM Catlettsburg KY and WRVC-AM Huntington WV.

There is one highly unusual plank in the contract. It seems the Connoisseur stations overpaid their obligations to ASCAP and BMI during 2010 and 2011 and are due refunds and credits from 2012 through 2016. The parties will either estimate the amount of benefit Connoisseur is likely to get from this situation and adjust the price accordingly at closing, or the buyer will make twice-a-year payments to cover the benefit, which under any case is not to exceed a cumulative value of more than $40K.

Connoisseur recently made station trading headlines when it snapped up a one-AM three-FM Long Island NY cluster from Barnstable Corporation for $23M. That deal was filed by the FCC 3/30/12.