As first reported by Radio Insight today, the ownership of Progressive Talk WCPT-AM 820 and ethnic-brokered WSBC-AM 1240 are being transferred from NewsWeb to an entity called Heartland Signal, LLC.
However, the “sale” price of the stations is only…$1 as it’s merely a FCC license transfer.
Owner Fred Eychaner has ties to both companies – he founded Heartland Signal three years ago but is now run by a non-profit entity called Future Now Action. From the Radio Insight report:
“Heartland Signal, a regional digital newsroom founded by Eychaner in 2021, will also receive the studio building of the stations. The platform is now operated by non-profit Future Now Action, which also runs political advocacy platform The States Project, the Lawmaker Network and the PAC for America’s Future founded by former New York state Senator Daniel Squadron, Jeffrey Sachs, and Adam Pritzker.”
Eychaner runs Newsweb, a local media company who founded WPWR-TV in 1982 on Channel 60. One of the most successful challengers to the independent station dominance of WGN-TV and WFLD-TV in a generation, WPWR was moved to Channel 50 in January 1987 and became an affiliate of the upstart UPN network approximately eight years later. In 2002, WPWR was sold to WFLD owner Fox for a record $425 million – the highest-paid amount for a local standalone TV station in Chicago history, a figure that still stands today. Eychaner used the proceeds for the sale to further boost his stance in progressive politics, as he purchased the former WYPA (850 AM) a year earlier and launched the WCPT Progressive Talk format in 2005. In 2007, Eychaner moved the format to 820 AM, the former homes of WAIT and WSCR-AM The Score.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who is running against President Joe Biden for the Democratic nomination and who stirred up a lot of controversy last night with his Super Bowl ad (we’ll talk more about this in our upcoming Super Bowl Commercial review), was once a former WCPT host.
With the sale of WCPT and WSBC, Newsweb is left with Portage Ind.’s WNDZ and Arlington Heights’ WCPY-FM, the latter once part of the Nine-FM Variety Hits format trimulcast along with their since-sold DeKalb and Park Forest radio sister stations from 2004 to 2008.