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Timonium-based Christian radio group to buy Annapolis’ WRNR-FM for $1.54 million

A Christian radio group previously at odds with WRNR-FM is buying the 103.1 FM station for $1.54 million, according to Federal Communications Commission filings.

Peter and John Ministries will be purchasing the adult alternative station, which has a studio in Annapolis and broadcasts from Grasonville, from the Empire Broadcasting Corporation, according to the companies’ agreement filed with the FCC on Thursday.

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The deal includes the station’s FCC license and its broadcasting equipment in Grasonville. However, Empire reserved the rights to its call sign, WRNR-FM, as well as its studio and equipment in Annapolis.

Thursday’s filing doesn’t close the deal — the station, which was first licensed more than 40 years ago as WAQA, must issue a public notice, wait through a public comment period, and gain final approval from the FCC before the sale goes through.

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The station’s to-be owner, Peter and John Ministries Radio Fellowship, is a Christian radio company based in Timonium that currently broadcasts on 95.1 WRBS-FM, also known as “BRIGHT-FM,” as well as a Christian talk radio counterpart that broadcasts on 1230 AM.

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Empire President Steven Kingston said in a statement that the station still holds its intellectual property, including the format and call letters. He said the company is “exploring other opportunities for WRNR on the FM dial and through digital distribution.”

“The sale of 103[.]1 FM is the end of a wonderfully rewarding chapter in my life and career, and the beginning of the next,” he said.

The Christian broadcaster’s president, Jon Bisset, did not return a call for comment Thursday.

Empire purchased the Annapolis station from Jake Einstein in 1997 in a $2.4 million deal. In the transaction, Einstein also sold WYRE-AM to Empire, while retaining Annapolis-based WNAV 1430 AM.

Last year, game show host Pat Sajak sold WNAV and 99.9 FM to BMSC Media. It’s since been sold again to Media One, and the 7.5-acre property on Admiral Drive where the station once stood, is now planned to become a workforce and senior housing community.

In 2016, WRNR was at odds with the FCC and Peter and John Ministries when regulators issued a license for WRBS to operate a low-power FM station in Baltimore with the same bandwidth as WRNR, 103.1 FM. The Annapolis station believed the Baltimore station, an FM repeater of the AM WRBS station, would threaten WRNR’s northern signal.

The FCC later rescinded the Christian company’s Baltimore translator after Empire petitioned the agency to reconsider its decision.


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