Crunch time at KCPW
May 23, 2008
For Wasatch Public Media — the nonprofit trying to buy KCPW-FM in Salt Lake City it is crunch time.
"Without your help, KCPW will be gone forever," the public radio station’s Web site states. "Come June 1, KCPW will change hands. If we’re successful in the first leg of what will be a three-year capital campaign, the programs you enjoy will remain on 88.3 and 105.3 FM. If not, the KCPW you know will cease to exist."
Wasatch Public Media has until Wednesday to come up with a down payment to purchase the public radio station for $2.4 million from Community Wireless of Park City, according to kcpw.org.
Community Wireless also owns KPCW-FM in Park City.
Community Wireless board members entered into a letter of intent with Wasatch Public Media to sell the broadcasting license. In a separate agreement, an AM frequency owned by Community Wireless could go to the Catholic broadcasting network IHR Educational Broadcasting for $1.3 million.
The 60 days Wasatch Public Media was given in April to show that lender financing has been secured to buy the station ends Wednesday.
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"We anticipate, as of May 28, that Wasatch Public Media will demonstrate their ability to close on the sale," said Joe Wrona, an attorney in Park City who represents Community Wireless. "Next Wednesday could be a very significant day. KCPW is raising funds and that appears to be going well for them."
Community Wireless could enter a purchase agreement with Wasatch Public Media next week.
But the group is still trying to raise about $200,000 for a 25 percent down payment for the purchase price of KCPW before the deadline.
Wasatch Public Media took over operation of the KCPW studios at Library Square in Salt Lake City several weeks ago, Wrona said.
"We are doing a lot of things with regard to the Salt Lake City station," Wrona said in a telephone interview Thursday. "We are providing them with a list of due diligence items."
A costly investment in an AM frequency forced Community Wireless to sell KCPW, according to Wasatch Public Media spokesman Ed Sweeney.
Meanwhile, among Community Wireless’ other suitors was an offer for KCPW from EMF Broadcasting in Rocklin, Calif., which could turn the station’s news format to Christian programming.
The on-air talent at KCPW may not change if Wasatch Public Media acquires the station.
Should Sweeney secure financing in time to buy the FM license and other assets, the Federal Communications Commission could allow the sale to close within 120 days, Wrona said.
The board could consider a competing offer if Wasatch Public Media’s deadline is not met, he explained.
"This is what Wasatch Public Media asked for," Wrona said about the 60 days the group had to obtain financing. "We gave them this period of time."
Other bidders for the station could have closed the deal before now, said Wrona.
Wrona added, "we want this to happen."
Selling KCPW will allow board members to focus on growing sister station KPCW, which is currently moving from the Marsac building into new studios on Swede Alley, Wrona said.