Jerry Rogers Sells His Savannah FM To A Local Buyer


Thoroughbred Communications is known across Coastal Georgia as the company behind a Class C3 FM offering an eclectic mix of “Quality Rock” to Savannah, Ga.; and Bluffton, Beaufort and Hilton Head, S.C.

It’s been a ratings success, and much of that is tied to 50-year-plus market veteran Jerry Rogers, who became the afternoon host and Music Director of former Top 40 WSGA-AM and later purchased this FM.

Now, Rogers is retiring. But, he isn’t selling his FM to a large company as he’s found a local buyer.

The Adult Rock station known as “Q105.3,” WRHQ-FM in Richmond Hill, Ga., is being sold by Thoroughbred to the individual who owns O.C. Welch Ford Lincoln in the Savannah suburb of Hardeeville, S.C.

That would be Ocie Cliff Welch III, and he’s been running the dealership, a “local staple since 1978.”

Now, pending FCC approval, Welch will also become a radio station licensee, through his Bradley Creek Broadcasting, a reference to his home adjacent to where the Wilmington River meets the creek on Whitemarsh Island.

With Brad Deutsch of Foster Garvey serving as Rogers’ legal counsel and A. Wray Fitch of Gammon & Grange representing Welch, an asset purchase agreement was formally filed for Commission approval on October 3; the agreement was finalized and signed on September 11.

Terms call for Welch to acquire not only the broadcast license for “Q105.3,” but the “bungalow” studios and offices the station uses at 1102 East 52nd Street in Savannah.

The total value of the sale is $1.7 million, and a $200,000 deposit has been made and is being held by Gammon & Grange. Bradley Creek will pay the remainder in cash at closing.

With the sale, Rogers, whose legal name is Jerry Roth, has ensured WRHQ remains the only locally owned and operated radio station serving Savannah. It competes vigorously against stations owned by Cumulus Media, Dick Broadcasting and iHeartMedia in market No. 146. In South Carolina, Saga Communications also serves as a competitor.

WRHQ signed on the air in May 1991; today it has higher ratings than heritage Classic Rocker WIXV “I-95” and Classic Hits WRWN “Rewind 107.9.”

Is there a secret sauce? Rogers shared why Q105.3’s unpredictable blend of Classic Rock, Adult Hits and Adult Alternative music is beloved by locals, and attracts advertisers, in a RBR+TVBR InFOCUS Podcast, presented by DOT.FM, in 2020.

Listen to “RBR+TVBR InFOCUS Podcast: Jerry Rogers, WRHQ” on Spreaker.

Under Welch’s ownership, “the format will never change,” he shared via a Facebook post, noting that Brianna Welch will also be involved with Q105.3. “I am so happy to do business with Jerry Rogers, Savannah’s Best Radio Man,” Welch said.

Rogers, in a conversation with RBR+TVBR, says, “My only prerequisite was to keep it local. It is a bittersweet thing, and I had to have an exit strategy for my staff, and my family, and not to have chaos. I would have liked to do it forever, but that’s not really possible, is it.”

Welch isn’t a first-time radio station owner. He owned a station in South Carolina circa 1998, Rogers said. How did it come to be that Mr. Welch would be the owner? “Many people had shown interest,” Rogers said. “Other people had approached me, and I felt they would make changes. A religious broadcaster approached me, and I didn’t want that. I didn’t want my staff to have their lives turned upside down, and aside from me not being here, I think everything we do here will stay the same. I’m certainly going to miss it, but I’m getting too old for this.”