30 May 2008
KCPW owners are good with bid
Lender convinces group of Wasatch Public Media's ability to pay
Originally from The Salt Lake Tribune
30 May 2008
KCPW-FM's owners have accepted evidence showing Wasatch Public Media has $2.4 million to purchase the public radio station when the deal closes later this year.
The Community Wireless of Park City board is satisfied with a letter of commitment from a congressionally chartered financial institution that it will provide financing to Wasatch Public Media, trustee Joe Wrona said Friday.
The board also voted to give Wasatch Public Media another seven days to hammer out an asset purchase agreement spelling out details of the sale of Salt Lake City-based KCPW, Wrona said.
"At this point, I am very confident that this transaction will close and that Salt Lake listeners will be able to continue listening to KCPW in substantially the same format, under the ownership of Wasatch Public Media," he said.
On Tuesday, NCB, also known as National Consumer Cooperative Bank, said it is willing to lend $2.2 million to Wasatch Public Media, which will chip in $200,000 for a down payment.
Wasatch Public Media, the nonprofit management group formed to buy the FM assets of KCPW, also will receive a $600,000 loan from Public Radio Capital, a Colorado-based nonprofit that assists public radio stations with financing.
The loan from Public Radio Capital will be used to pay the interest on the NCB loan during its four-year life, said Ed Sweeney, KCPW general manager and president of Wasatch Public Media.
"I'm grateful to Joe Wrona and Bill Mullen, [another trustee] who worked with us and believed in us and shepherded this project along, and that's a class act on their part," Sweeney said.
The Federal Communications Commission still must approve the sale. Wrona said federal approval usually takes 90 to 120 days. He expects the deal to close in September or early October.
Meanwhile, National Public Radio-affiliated KCPW will continue to operate under Sweeney's direction.
In March, the Community Wireless board gave Wasatch Public Media until May 28 to provide proof of financing or lose the station to a rival bidder, Educational Media Foundation, a California-based Christian broadcasting group.
Sweeney said the station would have been forced to shut down if Wasatch Public Media had not met the deadline.
"It was somewhat surreal to wake up on the 29th and hear KCPW was on the air. My greatest fear was that it would be dark or that it would be Christian music. That it didn't occur was a great relief for me," Sweeney said.
The board of Community Wireless said in January that it was putting up for sale the AM and FM broadcast licenses of KCPW in order to focus on sister station KPCW, which serves the Park City area.
Two months later, Community Wireless agreed to sell KCPW to Wasatch Public Media if it could arrange financing by the deadline. Through a fundraising drive and an on-air campaign, Wasatch Public Media raised almost $1 million.
Proceeds will be used to prepay part of the NCB loan and to fund the station's daily operations.
Community Wireless has agreed to sell KCPW-AM to IHR Educational Broadcasting, a religious group in Fair Oaks, Calif., for $1.3 million. IHR operates 20 Catholic radio stations in California and New Mexico.
Article Last Updated: 05/30/2008 11:38:17 PM MDT