A media organization owned by students at a major university has decided to sell its radio station.
Unlike WUMD-FM — the UMass Dartmouth volunteer-run noncomm that has received protests for its proposed sale to Rhode Island Public Radio — this station is commercially licensed and airs a Country AC format under the Cumulus “Nash Icon” branding.
The buyer is Saga Communications.
The seller? WUVA Inc., tied to undergraduates at the University of Virginia.
For an undisclosed price, Saga is acquiring Class A WUVA-FM 92.7 in Charlottesville, Va.
WUVA, Inc. has been owned and operated by university students since 1947. According to an official statement, it will continue serve the Charlottesville area by way of an online news platform.
WUVA Inc. President Kailey Leinz said, “It certainly is bittersweet to transition out of FM radio. But on behalf of WUVA’s student leadership, I’m very excited to focus on completing our transition to a digital-first news organization with expanded production capabilities. Now with an endowment to support our future, we will remain a strong, independent editorial voice at the University of Virginia.”
WUVA. Inc. will retain the rights to the trademark and all assets related to the operation of WUVA News as part of the deal.
Ed Christian, President/CEO of Saga, added, “We have enjoyed working with everybody at WUVA Inc., and are looking forward to adding the station to our radio group, allowing us to expand our service to the Charlottesville community. Saga intends to continue building its business in both the radio and television markets by identifying and acquiring middle market stations.”
Led by GM Jim Principi, Saga’s Charlottesville cluster is presently comprised of two AMs with FM translators (WINA-AM & WVAX-AM) and three full-signal FMs: WCNR-FM, WQMZ-FM & WWWV-FM.
The transaction is expected to close in early 2017, pending FCC approval.
Saga is one of two companies active in Charlottesville. The other is Monticello Media.
Saga does not subscribe to Nielsen Audio ratings for the Charlottesville market.