Radio Statesboro, Inc. owner Neal Ardman of St. Mary’s has reached an agreement to sell his remaining radio stations that serve Statesboro to local residents Bryan and Lee Steele.
In the agreement, which took effect Feb. 1, Steele will lease the stations from Ardman pending FCC approval. Once approval is obtained, they will complete the sale. Ardman has owned and operated the stations for the past five years.
The Steele’s are acquiring the two remaining FM stations 106.5 and 94.9 in addition to WWNS and WPTB which operates, as both AM and FM stations. WWNS is 1240 AM and 107.7 FM. WPTB is 850 AM and 99.7 FM. Steele also acquired the WPTB office off of Williams Road and the WWNS office on East Olliff Street.
They plan to renovate the Olliff Street building and move the operations for all of the stations to that location.
Last year Ardman sold 102.9 and 107.3 to two different religious organizations who are now operating them under a religious format.
Effective next Monday, the stations will be rebranded and reformatted as follows:
• 106.5 FM - The Boro - Country
• 94.9 FM - The Eagle - Adult Contempory
• 107.7 FM and 1240 AM WWNS - Fox News 107.7
• 99.7 FM and 850 AM - #99.7 – Top 40
Bryan Steele is well known in local media circles. He began his career in radio at age 13 working in his father’s radio station in Hinesville and has more than 45 years of experience in radio and television. About 24 years of his career was spent in television with WJCL and Comcast. The remainder in radio. He has managed radio stations throughout southeast Georgia for the past decade.
“I understand how valuable it is for Statesboro and Bulloch County to have a true local radio station and our plan is to return that to the community,” Bryan Steele said. “Our goal is to have as much local programming as possible from local sports to a live, local morning show. Lee and I are excited about the ownership of these stations and restoring them to the vital operations they can and should be in Statesboro and Bulloch County,”
The stations currently have almost no local programing with the formats being satellite fed automated programing. When Nate and Pat Hirsch owned the radio stations, they were a dominate force in local news and sports. For years, their stations served as the flagship for the Georgia Southern Broadcasting network.
I have known Bryan for almost his entire career in media.
He is very knowledgeable about the industry and the local market and is passionate about making a difference in the communities he serves. He has the opportunity to make a real difference in the operations of the stations. He really has his work cut out for him, but if anyone can bring life back to these stations and make them a centerpiece of information and connectivity for our community, he can and will do it.