An agreement to sell Carroll County radio station WTTR to Hilltop Communications LLC is in place, but awaiting approval from the Federal Communications Commission, which is currently involved in the federal government shutdown.
Steve Hopp, the general manager for both Westminster's WTTR and Annapolis' WNAV, said the radio station is in the process of being sold by Sajak Broadcasting Corporation.
Sajak Broadcasting Corporation, which has owned the radio station for eight years, is part-owned by "Wheel of Fortune" host Pat Sajak.
Both of the AM stations 1470 WTTR and 1430 WNAV were up for sale. WTTR is being sold for $325,000, Hopp said, and WNAV is still for sale.
"I think [Sajak is] kind of planning for the future and he decided that he would offer our stations," Hopp said.
Jeff Laird, who formed Hilltop Communications with his brother William J. Laird Jr., has been involved with WTTR in the past. Prior to Sajak's acquisition, Laird worked for Shamrock Communications, which at one time owned WTTR.
Laird has been involved with radio in several capacities, he said. Laird was the general manager of 100.7 WZBA, an FM classic rock radio station until 2011. He was then promoted to Chief Operating Officer and was overseeing several stations from Pennsylvania to Milwaukee prior to creating Hilltop Communications.
Laird said the agreement to purchase WTTR unofficially began several years ago, but the two companies have been negotiating on and off for several months.
Hopp said Laird has been very successful in radio in the past.
"We're very happy to have him take over the reins, once it's approved, of course," Hopp said.
There is one snag though - the two companies filed with the FCC Sept. 17. With the government shutdown, it's anyone's guess when it will go through.
Hopp said processing paperwork for the agreement to purchase the station through the FCC typically takes 60 to 90 days.
Laird said he hopes the sale will be complete sometime in November.
"[WTTR] has a great heritage in Carroll County. It does a really good job with the local community," Laird said.
The radio station was first placed on the air in 1953 by a local businessman, Russ Morgan. The station is described as "full service," Laird said, meaning it offers music, sports, news and traffic.
He said as far as programming goes, nothing major will be changed. The Westminster resident said if anything were to change in programming for WTTR, he would want to hear from the residents of Carroll County first.
"Ultimately, a radio station is licensed by the government to serve the community in which its signal is heard," Laird said. "I'm going to not only embrace that, but also further that."