10 Vt. Radio Stations Change Hands

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The bankruptcy of a large chain of radio stations has led to the sale of 10 Vermont stations.   

Many of the stations are being purchased by local buyers with a background in station ownership.

Nassau Broadcasting had a sizeable stake in the New England radio market.  When the company declared bankruptcy it owned 9 radio stations in New Hampshire and 11 in Maine, in addition to those in Vermont. 

The sale of the Vermont stations to a variety of owners represents the end of an era when companies like Nassau and the media giant Clear Channel Communications dominated the state’s commercial radio landscape.

Clear Channel sold seven Vermont stations four years ago.

Scott Fybush is editor of Northeast Radio Watch, an industry trade publication. 

Fybush says the latest ownership shuffle leaves many former Nassau stations in the hands of companies based in northern New England.  

"In the case of Vermont everybody who’s buying up these Nassau stations is pretty much right there in state," says Fybush. " Up in the Northeast Kingdom, a guy named Bruce James who owns a bunch of stations around St. Johnsbury had the opportunity to pick up a couple of stations in Newport and Derby Line. Ken Squier who owns WDEV, the legendary station out of Waterbury saw an opportunity to pick up an FM outlet that served Rutland very cheaply."

The largest number of Nassau stations in New England stations was purchased by a company owned by Bill Binnie, a former U.S. Senate candidate in New Hampshire.

Other stations were purchased by Great Eastern Radio based in Lebanon, New Hampshire.

Fybush believes an era of buying and selling is coming to an end.  

"I think at this point we’ve his something of a period of stability," he says. "I think the owners who are coming in now for the most part aren’t really in it for speculative purposes.  I think they’re really in it to operate these stations."

Fybush says with a couple of exceptions he doesn’t think listeners will hear many on-air changes at the former Nassau stations.

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