Acquisition expands RadioAlabama family to 10 radio brands along with multiple digital platforms, magazine
Courtesy of Auburn Networks, LLC
Auburn Networks LLC reached an agreement to purchase the media assets of Auburn Network Inc. in Auburn and Opelika including Wings 94.3 (WGZZ/WGZZ-HD), NewsTalk WANI (WANI-AM/W242AY), ESPN 106.7 (WGZZ-HD3/W294AR), 96.3 WLEE (WGZZ-HD2/W242AX) and the quarterly East Alabama Living magazine.
The new company is owned by Lee Perryman, whose current platforms under the RadioAlabama brand include FOX Sports Central Alabama on 98.3 FM (WFXO/WFXO-HD), MIX 106.5 (WFXO-HD2/W293CQ), 105.1 WRFS (WRFS), KiX 100.3 (WYEA/W262DI), KiX 96.3 (WSGN/W242CP), AU100 (WAUE), SylacaugaNews.com and RadioAlabama Sports.
“We are excited about this opportunity to further expand in and for the benefit of the Auburn-Opelika area,” Perryman said. “These stations exemplify what radio is supposed to be in serving their communities – a persistent passion for listener engagement and public service in multiple formats. The local mission, programming and focus will continue, and I look forward to working with the current team.”
Auburn Network stations were honored in March with 2020 ABBY awards for the state’s Best Sports Show/Sports Talk Show, Best Talk Show (for the 11th time) and Best Regularly Scheduled Newscast (for the ninth time).
“I appreciate being able to engage with Lee and his staff and this major investment in our continued success,” said Steve Witten, general sales manager for Auburn Network Inc. “We are especially enthusiastic about making the most of our similarities and synergies.”
WANI was named Alabama’s Radio Station of the Year in 2009 and 2016, frequently recognized for excellence. RadioAlabama’s central Alabama stations, owned by Marble City Media LLC, are home to the state’s 2017 Radio Station of the Year; Best Morning Show of 2016, 2019 and 2020; the Alabama Broadcaster’s Association’s 2014 Broadcaster of the Year; and winners of other prestigious ABBY Awards in 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.
“Working as part of the RadioAlabama family will give us new resources,” said Zac Blackerby, station manager of NewsTalk WANI and ESPN 106.7. “This is an important time to put even more into quality radio, and we already offer an outstanding menu of news/talk, sports/talk and music stations.”
WANI-AM was first licensed in Opelika as WJHO-AM in June 1940. WGZZ-FM was originally licensed to Dadeville in 1989 as WZLM-FM and moved to the Auburn suburbs in 2004, followed by a frequency change in 2010 along with the addition of HD Radio technology and new analog FM channels beginning in 2011. The purchase also includes construction permits for a new FM channel and a new television channel in Auburn.
“We will begin operating the stations under a local management and programming agreement by Oct. 1, with assignment of licenses pending Federal Communications Commission review and approval,” Perryman said.