The Coastal Star

Sale of WXEL radio faces bureaucratic hurdles

By Kelly Wolfe

Barry University’s board of trustees unanimously agreed to sell its public broadcasting radio station WXEL to Classical South Florida for $3.85 million in

And although the announcement was made in a celebratory fashion, it’s still unclear whether the agreement will make it past the more significant hurdles that are
yet to come.

“We were never going to sell WXEL to the highest bidder,” Michael Laderman, spokesman for Barry University. “We wanted to find a strong organization with
knowledge of TV and radio, and, quite frankly, we believe we’ve done that.”

Classical South Florida airs classical music on 89.7 FM in Miami and 101.9 FM in West Palm Beach. It’s a nonprofit, listener-supported station that began
broadcasting in 2007. Despite the
economic climate, the station has 9,000 members.

CSF said it’s not clear what changes, if any, will happen after the purchase of WXEL.

“It like we’ve bought a car but haven’t looked under the hood yet,” said Jason Hughes, a spokesman for CSF.

But before any side can move forward, the transfer of WXEL’s radio license is subject to approval by the Board of Education of the state of Florida. After
that, the Federal Communications Commission must approve the transaction,
following a period of public comment.

This approval process snagged a deal Barry made with WNET in 2004. It wasn’t that the FCC denied the transaction; it was that the process took so long, WNET
walked away.

Both sides aren’t sure if that could happen again. Laderman said he’s just going to think positive.

“We hope the state will give its blessing and we’ll be able to move forward with the FCC,” he said.

Hughes said CSF is undeterred. “The process is going to take as long as it needs to,” he said.

Barry bought WXEL in 1997, but the university’s hopes and dreams for the acquisition never materialized. Last year, a community advisory board told the university
to sell the station after years of mismanagement.

But Hughes said CSF sees great potential in WXEL.

“We’re very excited,” he said.

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