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WAMU buying Spotsylvania radio station

WAMU, the leading National Public Radio station in Washington, is poised to purchase Spotsylvania County’s classical music station WWED.

According to the asset purchase agreement, WWED 89.5 FM will transfer its tower, building and all FCC licenses to WAMU for $375,000.

The station is owned the by Educational Media Corp., a nonprofit Christian ministry based in Spotsylvania. The company also owns WWEM 91.7 FM, which simulcasts WWED to the Lynchburg area.

Formed in 1961, WAMU 88.5 is member-supported, professionally staffed and licensed to American University. The station’s 24-hour format offers a mixture of news, public affairs talk programming and bluegrass.

WAMU released this statement about the purchase but declined to comment further:

“WAMU is interested in the possibility of purchasing WWED 89.5 in Spotsylvania, Va. We have filed an assignment application with the FCC and the American University Board of Trustees is reviewing the purchase. We would hope to have the purchase complete this fall.”

However, an application filed with the FCC in 2011 to renew WAMU’s license remains pending, the station disclosed in the asset purchase agreement. Dr. John Nelson has filed a petition questioning the qualifications of American University to hold the license.

In the agreement, WAMU stated that it is confident the FCC will rule in its favor.

WWED has been through several incarnations since its inception in 2005.

During its first year, the station carried praise and worship music. In 2006, it switched to country and Southern gospel. The next year it became a bluegrass gospel station.

In 2009, WWED dropped the bluegrass and remained silent until launching a contemporary Christian format in 2010. In early February 2012, it switched to classical music.

The 8,000-watt WWED is rated a “class A” FM station, which typically has a range of around 20 miles.

The Fredericksburg area also receives NPR through RADIO IQ, 88.3 FM, a station licensed to Virginia Tech.

Lindley Estes: 540/735-1976

lestes@freelancestar.com

 

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