Monday, August 8, 2011

Citadel Reclaims Charleston Station

The ownership of Magic 107.3 FM in WMGL Charleston, SC has been settled, though not without some static.

According to a story by John McDermott at, the issue began last summer, when industry giant Citadel Broadcasting Corp. asked regulators for the OK to recall the license to the Ravenel radio station. Citadel already had been running WMGL.

The circumstances that led up to that arrangement reflect the rules the broadcasting business operates under.

After gobbling up a rival several years ago, Citadel was required to divest Magic because of federal ownership limits.

WMGL was never sold in the conventional sense. Instead, Citadel shifted the license to a third party, Last Bastion Station Trust. The idea was to give the trustee time to line up a buyer, preferably a woman- or minority-owned business. In the interim, Citadel continued to operate Magic, which was rated the No. 9 local station (tied with Clear Channel's WXLY-102.5 FM) in the latest Arbitron market survey for Charleston.

A buyer never materialized, and Citadel sought to take back the license last summer. In doing so, it had to show a "change in circumstances" to regulators, It cited the move of its old WNKT-FM signal from St. George to the Midlands.

The request drew an objections.  One argument was that Citadel didn't try hard enough to market Magic. The company disagreed, saying "the failure to sell the stations ... is a result, in part, of the recent tightening of the credit markets."

Regulators sided with Citadel and approved the transfer in late July. Daniels could not be reached for comment.

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