Catholic radio station buys Middletown’s WPFB AM signal for $450,000

For the second time in five years, Middletown’s WPFB-AM (910) radio station has been sold. Northern Kentucky University sold the rights for $450,000 to Sacred Heart Radio, the Catholic station broadcasting on WNOP-AM (740), said Sean O’Mealy, NKU’s general manager.

Jim Levitt, general manager of Sacred Heart Radio, hopes the deal is closed by April 30, and the station is launched on June 3. Levitt said the Catholic station has been interested in the AM station for about three years, but until recently, the two stations couldn’t reach a financial agreement. He said WPFB-AM was appraised at $700,000, and NKU was asking $650,000, he said.

“We weren’t interested at that price,” Levitt said.

But when the asking price dropped, and the Archdiocese of Cincinnati donated a “nice chunk of dough,” Sacred Heart Radio was able to purchase the station, Levitt said. He said the Catholic station is funded by listener donations.

Besides the license, Sacred Heart Radio, based in Norwood, will pay a $500 monthly fee to use the Middletown tower. Levitt said the station will install a new transmitter and processor before starting to simulcast Catholic programming this summer. NKU will tear down the old farmhouse studio at 4505 Central Ave. this summer, NKU officials said.

By acquiring the station, Sacred Heart will reach listeners in Middletown and as far north as Tipp City, Levitt said. Sacred Heart Radio, which started in 2001, also broadcasts in Hamilton on FM 89.5, acquired from Hamilton City Schools, he said. The station also originates a three-hour “Son Rise Morning Show” Mondays through Fridays carried by 300 EWTN radio affiliates.

Levitt called the acquisition of the Middletown station “the missing link” to the station’s reach through Cincinnati, northern Kentucky, parts of Indiana and now in Butler, Warren and Montgomery counties.

Levitt said AM 910 will be a 24/7 simulcast of the AM 740 programming, meaning the broadcast of high school football and basketball games won’t return to the station.