Radio station owner files for bankruptcy
Montgomery broadcaster Bluewater, which operates five area radio stations, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, but representatives say listeners shouldn’t expect to hear any changes. Bluewater, which operates FM stations WBAM, WQKS, WACV and WJWZ and AM station WACV in the Montgomery market, declared Chapter 11 after its main lender called in a $4.5 million loan. But the company said broadcasts will continue as normal, certainly for the immediate future.
The broadcast company has a $4.5 million loan from Land mark Bank, based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and others. The loan, which has been renewed, was used to purchase the stations that make up Bluewater about five years ago. The lenders requested a private valuation of the properties earlier this year, and Bluewater’s stations were appraised at about $3.73 million, less than the face value of the loan.
On Aug. 5, Land mark and the other lenders notified Bluewater officials that they were requesting immediate payment on the loan. When no payment was received, the lenders notified Bluewater on Aug. 18 that it planned to take legal action and enforce the loan’s terms. Bluewater responded by filing for bankruptcy Aug. 24, seeking time to find ways to pay off the debt and to reorganize operations. In court filings, Bluewater said the lenders’ actions had the effect of foreclosing on the business and asked the court for protection. Terry Barber, Bluewater’s general manager, said the stations would continue to broadcast during the bankruptcy. “We are still open and broadcasting like before,” he said. He declined to say what might happen in the longer term, but said the broadcaster planned no immediate changes. “These radio stations are worth a lot more on the air than they are as empty buildings,” he said.
Bluewater operates country station WBAM, 98.9 FM, oldies rock station WQKS, 96.1 FM, hip hop station WJWZ, 97.9 FM, talk radio station WACV, 107.9 FM and an AM WACV talk radio station, 1170 AM. [source]