Saturday, May 19, 2018

Albany NY Radio: Money Woes Force 3 AMs Off-Air

Financial problems were behind the decision to pull the plug on Empire Broadcasting Co.'s radio stations, said Joe Reilly, the partner managing the operation.

"The reason was declining revenue," Reilly told the Times-Union Friday morning. "We've been losing money."

Earlier, Empire had said that it was Reilly's retirement that had led to a decision to cease broadcasting, an assertion he disputed. Reilly had stepped down at a board meeting last November.

Empire is the parent company of stations with such legendary radio call letters as WPTR and WABY, as well as of WAIX.

Empire Broadcasting Co. pulled the plug on the stations last Sunday night. Empire filed a notification with the Federal Communications Commission on Monday that it was suspending operations.

Reilly acquired several stations for $1.2 million in September 2012 from Anastos Media Group.

WPTR and WABY in the 1960s competed with WTRY in Troy for the Top 40 rock music audience, with such DJs as Boom Boom Brannigan, Charlie Brown and Bob Badger, who became household names.

WPTR at the time was a 50,000-watt powerhouse at 1540 AM, and it wasn't unusual for personalities such as Brannigan to spin discs at school dances as far north as Montreal.

Recently, WPTR was carrying Bloomberg Financial news on its 1240 AM frequency, while WABY had adopted a contemporary music format previously on WAIX 106.1 FM The Jockey and was broadcasting at 900 AM.

The Jockey had previously been broadcasting at WJKE 101.3 FM, but that station was sold in November for $550,000 to suburban Sacramento, Calif.-based Educational Media Foundation.

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