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Article on WBEC Sale

Here is the Article from the Berkshire Eagle website re: the sale of WBEC.

WBEC stations sold

New owner plans no changes in format, staff
Friday July 02, 1999

By Greg Sukiennik

Berkshire Eagle Staff

PITTSFIELD -- The AM and FM outlets of WBEC will be sold for $4.65 million,
pending approval of the sale by the Federal Communications Commission.

Aritaur Communications will sell WBEC (AM 1420) and WBEC (FM 105.5 and
94.1), better known as "Live 105.5," to Tele-Media Broadcasting, LLC, which
in April purchased four stations in the Albany, N.Y., area. Arituar co-owner
Joseph Gallagher and Tele-Media vice president and chief operations officer
Ira Rosenblatt made the announcement yesterday.

Rosenblatt said he has no plans to change the format of either WBEC AM or
FM, and no plans at present to change staffing levels or station management.

Station manager Laura Freed will remain in her position at the helm of both
the FM and AM stations, which are separate entities despite sharing the same

The sale price is $3,569,000 more than the $695,000 that Gallagher and
business partner William Collatos spent to purchase the county's
second-oldest radio stations from Chapter 11 bankruptcy receivership in

Gallagher's unrelated radio tower business, which recently won a permit to
build a second tower at the peak of Bousquet Ski Area, is not included in
the sale.

Gallagher said Aritaur sold to Tele-Media because he was confident that the
company has the resources to continue promoting the growth of the WBEC

Gallagher said the stations were not "on the market," but added that when he
was approached by Rosenblatt, whom he has known for years, he felt the time
was right to sell.

"My belief is that the continued long-term growth and success of the
station, and its ability to provide outstanding radio to the Berkshire
community and beyond, would be enhanced by having an Albany affiliation and
a larger company involvement," Gallagher explained.

"A lot of it did have to do with the fit, and my comfort level with
Tele-Media -- their reputation, the way they do business, as well as the way
they run radio stations and treat people."

On the other side, Rosenblatt said WBEC was a good purchase because of the
opportunity to capitalize on cross-marketing between the closely related
Albany and Berkshire radio markets. "We are looking for the right
opportunities, operations with good people," Rosenblatt said.

Also part of the Tele-Media acquisition was WZEC (FM 97.5) in Hoosick Falls,
N.Y., a few miles west of Bennington, Vt., for $386,000. WBEC recently
acquired WZEC.

Tele-Media will use that signal to extend WBEC-FM's programming to North
Berkshire and southern Vermont, as well as nearby eastern New York. WZEC
will simulcast WBEC-FM's "hot adult contemporary" format.

"I don't see where [the sale] will have any great impact," said Philip K.
Weiner, owner of WUPE-FM and WUHN-AM in Pittsfield. "They have been good,
strong competitors, and I don't think this will affect us one way or

Neither Donald Thurston, owner of Berkshire Broadcasting stations WNAW, WMNB
and WSBS, nor Willard "Huck" Hodgkins, owner of WBRK, could be reached for

Tele-Media's radio portfolio now includes 12 stations in New York,
Massachusetts and California. The company is an affiliate of Tele-Media
Corp. of Delaware, which includes cable television, engineering,
construction, video and marketing among its operations.

WBEC began broadcasting in 1947 in a building at 30 Eagle St., where it was
founded by Eagle Publishing Co. officers Donald B. and Lawrence K. Miller.

When that building was demolished in 1957, the station moved across the
street to the third floor of the Eagle Building, managing to lose only six
hours of broadcast time in the process.

The Eagle sold the station to Richard S. Jackson Sr. in 1961. It moved to
its present Jason Street location in 1965.

The Jackson family sold the station to Citicom Radio Corp., a group headed
by former NBC television executive Robert T. Howard, for a reported $1.2
million in 1980.

Citicom sought Chapter 11 protection in 1991 after finding itself $2.6
million in debt to a Rhode Island subsidiary of Bank of Boston.

Asked about his six years in charge of WBEC, Gallagher said he is proudest
of the success the station has enjoyed, and of the people who made that
success happen. "Laura [Freed] and her group of people have done a
tremendous job," he said.

Aritaur also owns stations on Martha's Vineyard and in Brockton.

It should take between two and sixth months for the FCC to approve the
license transfer, Rosenblatt said.

reprinted with permission.