Delayed for most of this year by a station ownership dispute, an all-children's-programming radio station should begin broadcasting in Baltimore by late November.
The Washington-area Capital Kids Radio Company announced yesterday it is purchasing WFEL-AM (1570), a 5,000-watt Towson station currently broadcasting a format of Christian country music, from owner Guardian Communications.
Although Federal Communications Commission approval of the $521,500 sale could take two to three months, the purchaser is leasing the station during the review period so it can begin broadcasting the new format.
"We plan to be on the air by late November," said Lawrence Kessner, Capital Kids partner. When the sale is approved, the Towson station's call letters will be changed to WKDH-AM.
Billed as Radio Zone . . . The Kids' Stations!, the company began broadcasting earlier this year on two stations in the Washington area, WKDL-AM (1050) in Silver Spring and WKDV-AM (1460) in Northern Virginia.
The stations carry programs of the nationally syndicated Radio Aahs 24-hour children's network out of Los Angeles, but also air a daily local morning show with host Kenny Curtis. He is also host of the Fox 45 Kids' Club children's programs on WBFF-TV, Channel 45.
In Baltimore, Mr. Kessner said, the station will carry local ads, weather and Metro Traffic Control reports. Mr. Curtis will alternate his live broadcasts between the Silver Spring and Baltimore stations.
Last December, Capital Kids Radio announced it was purchasing WITH-AM (1230) and would begin airing children's programming in Baltimore in the spring. The FCC approved the sale, but the station's owner, James McCotter of Florida, failed to come to settlement.
In May, Capital Kids filed a $500,000 lawsuit seeking to force completion of the sale, and in August a Baltimore Circuit Court judge held the case over for trial.
Mr. Kessner said his company plans to pursue the WITH lawsuit. But he declined to comment on whether Capital Kids wishes to own two Baltimore stations or is seeking only monetary damages.