POULTNEY — The company that owns WVNR, Pine Tree Broadcasting Co., is being purchased by a radio company in Saratoga Springs, New York.
Ricki Lee, one of the owners of Loud Media, said his company has entered into an agreement with Pine Tree Broadcasting to purchase the concern for $150,000. It will include WVNR’s counterpart, 94.1 WNYV, based in Whitehall, New York. Both stations simulcast under the name “Lakes Region Radio.”
Lee said the deal is pending approval by the Federal Communications Commission and he expects a decision will be made sometime this summer.
Loud Media began forming about 18 months ago, Lee said. It came together with the merger of Border Media and A&J Radio, owned by Aaron Ishmael. Lee said he owned a few stations with his wife, and that it made good business sense to merge them with the stations owned by Ishmael.
Lee said there won’t be big staffing changes for now. Pine Tree has one full-time employee, he said.
“Everybody that presents a radio program will continue to do so,” said Lee. “As we progress, management will obviously change. We’ll reshuffle the schedule to make it into our future vision, but as of right now, there’s only one real full-time employee and that person will be offered another full-time role with us.”
The stations’ programming will change only slightly, he said.
“Our vision is to freshen the sound and the format of the station and continue to deliver a local radio service that we think would be appealing to the wider audience and hopefully make it profitable,” he said. “The radio station has a new music format right now, it’s playing classic hits, so songs from the ’60s to the ’90s. We’ve introduced some newer records, and when I say newer records, I mean the ’90s, to the mix. We hope that we’ve given it a fresher, more feel-good, and that’s our vision for the station, we want it to sound great and for people to enjoy the radio station whether they’re at work, driving in their car or at home.’
Also, he said, Loud Media will bring the Pine Tree stations up to speed in terms of an online presence.
The one thing this radio station has lacked is technology,” said Lee. “A great example is, this week we’ve launched a brand-new website for the radio station, and now it officially streams on the internet for the first time. Most radio stations have been doing that for a long time, so it’s making small changes like that that makes us competitive. Being able to offer radio advertising is only one part of the puzzle. We want to be able to offer a digital solution.”
Visit www.lakesregionradio.com to listen to the station online.
Lee acknowledged that acquiring radio stations in time when advertising revenues are down, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, comes with a great deal of uncertainty.
“For us, this just made sense,” he said. “We want to be able to be competitive, so I don’t know what the future holds. I think we’re all — as well as you guys in newspaper land — finding it challenging and unprecedented, and I think we’ll just see how the future unfolds.”
According to a statement from Loud Media released last week to radio trade publications, WVNR-AM came to Poultney in 1981. It was bought by Pine Tree Broadcasting in 1986. WNYV-FM came about in 1990. Pine Tree is owned by Michael Leech with the stations being run by his sister, Judith Leech.