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Salem Connects to DC-Area AM Signal From Red Zebra

Sports broadcaster controlled by Dan Snyder winnows its holdings

Story has been updated to clarify nature of the new ownership group.

Red Zebra Broadcasting has a buyer for AM station WSPZ in Bethesda, Md. It is selling that signal to AM 570 LLC, a company connected to Salem Media, for $2.1 million. Greg Guy of Patrick Communications was exclusive broker.

This is the latest in several sales in quick succession by Red Zebra. The company — co-founded by Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder and based in Rockville, Md. — began operating in the greater Washington area in 2006 with three stations as a sports radio simulcast and later added more signals in and around DC and Richmond, Va. Its flagship is AM station WTEM on 980 kHz, which also heads a network of Redskins radio affiliates and carries other notable local sports events.

But in late April the broadcaster filed with the FCC for a $2 million sale of WXGI(AM) in Richmond and WWXT(FM) in Prince Frederick, Md., to Radio One. Then a few days ago it announced the sale of 2 kW WWXX(FM) in Buckland, Va., for a quarter of a million dollars to Educational Media Foundation.

The latter signal had been part of the 980 simulcast while the AM being sold in Bethesda, though also sports, is programmed separately from 980.

Washington is the No. 7 U.S. radio market as ranked by Nielsen Audio. Salem has WAVA(AM/FM) in WWRC(AM) in the market; the company targets audiences interested in “Christian and family-themed content and conservative values.”

The newsletter Tom Taylor Now reported that the buyer is owned by the families of the founders of Salem, the Atsingers and the Eppersons, which means the deal doesn’t directly involve Salem or raise its debt, though the station will presumably be part of the Salem cluster. The newsletter also reported that the package includes 58 acres of land in Montgomery County, Md., including four towers that carry WSPZ as well as the diplexed signal of Cumulus AM station WMAL.

WSPZ(AM) has a 5 kW day/1 kW night signal and currently carries Red Zebra sports talk content. The Red Zebra flagship remains WTEM(AM).