Christian radio network to buy WAMB for $5M

August 23, 2005

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Christian radio network to buy WAMB for $5M
By Chris Lewis,
August 23, 2005
After 34 years of broadcasting big band music of the 1930s through the 1970s, WAMB 1160-AM will be converted to a Christian talk station next year as the result of an ownership change.

Bott Radio Network of Overland Park, Kan., signed a contract this month to purchase the station for $5 million from Great Southern Broadcasting Co. Inc. of Donelson.

Assuming the Federal Communications Commission approves the company’s application for the license transfer, the 24-hour Christian talk format will begin broadcasting in January, said Richard Bott II, executive vice president of the family-owned company.

The Bott network includes 30 stations in the country, including WCRV, which has been operating for nearly 20 years in Memphis, Bott said.

“We’ve been interested in expanding our service across Tennessee, and Nashville was the next logical place to go,” he said.

Bott said he approached William Barry, owner of Great Southern, about purchasing the station because of its powerful signal – 50,000 watts during the day and 1,000 watts at night.

He described the format as quality Bible teaching, with Christian news and information that is applied to daily life
Barry, who built WAMB from a 250-watt station, is among a rare breed of independent operators in the country, said Robert Unmacht, a Nashville-based radio consultant.

“We’re going to lose something that is quite rare in the country because he played the music he liked, and a lot of that was the ‘30s and ‘40s stuff,” Unmacht said.

In the spring Arbitron ratings book, WAMB was tuned in by .9 percent of the radio listening audience (age 12 and older) in the Nashville area, ranking it 20th among stations in the market, according to Radio & Records magazine.

Barry couldn’t be reached for comment by press time.

Bott said most of the network programming originates from the company’s home office, while some of it will be tailored to Nashville.

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