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Buckley Sells Syracuse Cluster to WMCR Owner

Updated 8/19 @ 6:15PM with Buckley Press Release – SYRACUSE — Buckley’s three-station Syracuse cluster will soon have a new owner, pending FCC approval: James Johnson’s Leatherstocking Media Group, the same outfit that recently purchased the WMCR AM/FM duo in Oneida.

Buckley Syracuse GM Judy Kelly confirms the pending sale for CNYRadio.com, stating “An LMA will be put into effect on September 1st while Mr. Johnson applies for the licenses and FCC approval” of the sale.

Kelly says, “other than that, it’s too soon to report anything.  I will be meeting with Mr. Johnson later today and I’m sure he’ll be making announcements as to what his plans for the stations will be.”  A press release from Buckley Radio’s corporate offices in Connecticut, added 8/19 at 6:15pm, appears at the bottom of this article.

Radio Online and Radio-Info.com both somehow got wind of the sale rather early yesterday, but neither has been able to confirm a purchase price for the cluster.

An attempt to reach Leatherstocking via WMCR’s website was unsuccessful, as an inquiry sent to the lone e-mail address on the website kicked back an error message.  No other contact information for Leatherstocking is available.

An unnamed Buckley staffer tells CNYRadio.com the sale is “not surprising since they’ve been cutting way, way back on staff, etc… making it more appealing for a sale.”

The list of notable “exits” from Buckley’s stations started late last October, when WSEN afternoon driver Jim Tate was shown the door.  Roughly a month later, the station handed walking papers to night jock Spidr Murfee and several part-timers.   Management continued to blame the economy when Oldies 1390 (WFBL) morning host Bob Brown was let go this past February.  That was followed by the layoff of longtime WSEN midday DJ Diane Wade a month later.

The cluster includes Classic Hits 92.1 (WSEN AM/FM) and Oldies 1390 (WFBL).  No word yet on whether Johnson plans to make further changes to the staffing or formats.

Upon buying WMCR, Johnson had announced plans to separate the AM/FM simulcast,  keeping the FM more music-driven, and the AM side more talk-driven.  While we have yet to hear this happen, the WMCR website clearly promotes the FM side as “your favorites from the 80s, 90s and more,” while the AM side is promoted as “Oneida’s news, talk, sports authority for 50 years.”

Buckley Corporate Press Release on the Sale

—FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—

BUCKLEY BROADCASTING DIVESTS SYRACUSE, NY CLUSTER
Deal with Leatherstocking Media Group announced

August 18, 2009

In a transaction announced today, and subject to FCC approval, Buckley Broadcasting Corp. announced the divestiture of their radio holdings within the Syracuse, New York market WFBL(AM), WSEN AM & FM for an undisclosed amount to Leatherstocking Media Group, Inc.

WFBL(AM) operates with 5kw full-time on 1390kHz in the oldies format. Utilizing the good time rock and roll format, WSEN(FM) operates at 92.1mHz with 25kw, with an antenna height of 299’, while WSEN(AM) operates on 1050kHz with 2.5kw day and 200 watts at night.

The buyer, Leatherstocking Media Group, Inc., headed by James V. Johnson, recently acquired WMCR AM&FM in Oneida, NY, having divested numerous New York radio stations a number of years ago.

The seller, Buckley Radio Corp., headed by Richard D. Buckley, also owns 17 other radio stations nationwide, from California to Connecticut.

The buyer will begin a Local Marketing Agreement of the stations, effective September 1st.

Dick Foreman of Richard A. Foreman Associates, Inc. initiated the transaction and served as the exclusive broker representing Buckley Radio Corp.

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