September 9, 2009

Pittsburgh's WAMO Radio and Urban Radio in Western Pennsylvania is now Silent...

Pittsburgh's African American Community is no longer served by local radio

St. Joseph Ministries has completed its acquisition of three Pittsburgh stations from Sheridan Broadcasting for $8.9 million. Included in the deal were Urban AC WAMO-AM, Urban WAMO-FM and Gospel WPGR-AM. All three outlets have gone dark ahead of what is sure to be Religious programming.

Sheridan, which has stations in Atlanta, Buffalo and Birmingham along with the American Urban Radio Networks, plans to maintain its headquarters in downtown Pittsburgh.

WAMO has been a part of Pittsburgh's history for 55 years. WAMO-AM began in Homestead in 1948 as WHOD. In 1956, the call letters were changed to WAMO (to represent the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio rivers). WAMO-FM went on the air in 1960.


The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh has felt it was necessary to issue a statement upon the sale of WAMO.

-"Despite rumors, perhaps especially in the African-American community, the Diocese of Pittsburgh is not buying three Pittsburgh-area radio stations, including WAMO-AM and WAMO-FM, and converting the stations to Catholic programming, diocesan officials say.

“The group purchasing WAMO is an independent group of laypersons who want to promote the use of media by Catholics, and are not affiliated with the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh in any way,” said Father Ron Lengwin, diocesan spokesman.
The three stations have been sold by a subsidiary of Sheridan Broadcasting Corp. to St. Joseph Missions, a filing with the Federal Communications Commission indicated, and the stations reportedly will be converted to Catholic programming.

The original filing with the FCC on May 19 indicated WAMO-AM 860, WAMO-FM 106.7 and WPGR-AM 1510, with transmitters in Beaver Falls, Millvale and Monroeville, respectively, were sold by MCL/MCM Pennsylvania LLC, a subsidiary of Pittsburgh-based Sheridan Broadcasting (Ronald Davenport Jr.) to St. Joseph Missions (Matthew Gorsich) for $445,000 escrow and the balance of $8.9 million in cash at closing.

The filing also indicated that the buyer is a noncommercial entity, and a request was made for a main studio waiver to operate all three stations out of one location. That location is believed to be Latrobe, Westmoreland County, which is in the Diocese of Greensburg."

They want to make it clear that the new owners of WAMO are Catholic Broadcasters located outside of Pittsburgh.

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