Group is poised to buy KCPW-FM |

Group is poised to buy KCPW-FM

A Salt Lake City nonprofit is poised to ink a deal to buy KCPW-FM for $2.4 million after the group received a seven-day extension May 29 to finalize the purchase with Community Wireless of Park City, which owns KCPW and KPCW-FM in Park City.

In March, Community Wireless board members entered into a letter of intent with Wasatch Public Media to sell the KCPW 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.

"It’s going to happen and it’s full steam ahead," Wasatch Public Media spokesman Ed Sweeney said in a telephone interview Friday.

News programming and on-air talent at KCPW may not change if it is bought by Wasatch Public Media, Sweeney said.

"We have been fortunate to have had strong interest from other parties, but [Sweeney] and his team have been very successful at raising the necessary funds and securing the required financing, and we are thrilled that the station will be able to keep its [National Public Radio] format," Community Wireless founder Blair Feulner said in a prepared statement. "I am also delighted at the prospect that the employees will continue to have a home in a station that we worked very hard to build over the past years."

This week could be used to finalize the purchase with Wasatch Public Media, said Joe Wrona, an attorney for Community Wireless.

"I think the support that Mr. Sweeney and the staff have received bodes very well for the future of KCPW," Wrona said. "Clearly the listeners in Salt Lake are behind the station, and that’s the way community-based radio should be."

The Federal Communications Commission must approve any transaction, which could occur within 120 days of Wasatch Public Media finalizing the deal, Wrona added.

Last spring, Wasatch Public Media was given 60 days to show it secured financing for the purchase.

"We qualified as the buyer," Sweeeney said about financial commitment letters board members were provided from lenders National Cooperative Bank and Public Radio Capital. "The purpose of Public Radio Capital is to work with other nonprofits in the purchase and sale of public radio so they remain public radio stations and are not sold to religious groups. They try to keep public radio on air."

National Cooperative Bank loaned Wasatch Public Media $2.2 million, Sweeney said, adding that his group contributed about $200,000 to the purchase.

"Part of the condition was that we raise $600,000 cash or pledges. That showed both banks that we had 25 percent of the purchase price of $2.4 million already raised," Sweeney said. "We raised about $816,000 in less than 60 days and that’s what kept us in the game."

Wasatch Public Media took over operation of the KCPW studios at Library Square in Salt Lake City several weeks ago.

"People were behind us," Sweeney said about support his group received from KPCW staffers. "It’s one radio station to another, and they wanted us to be successful because we were a family at one time."

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