Certain assets of WJTK 96.5 FM “The Jet,” which carries a News/Talk format, are being auctioned off as part of a receivership case. Before you bid, make sure you read the fine print about these call letters. There sure is some interesting history.
The station primarily serves the Lake City area in Columbia County, which is the I-75 & I-10 corridor between Jacksonville and Tallahassee. Moecker Auctions is looking for sealed bids for the assets. The station is now owned by Newman Broadcasting which has a 15-year history with the FCC.
In 2005, when The Commission auctioned off 172 FM construction permits, Cesta Newman used the “New Entrant Bidding Credit,” which was implemented to help diversify ownership. In order to be eligible, applicants could not have attributable interest in any other form of mass communication. The notice also provided that in cases where a bidder’s spouse or close family member holds other media interests, those interests are not automatically attributable to the bidder and that the Commission decides attribution issues in this context based on certain factors traditionally considered relevant. Any media interests the bidder or the bidder’s family had needed to be disclosed in the application so all bids were considered fairly.
In 2006, Cesta Newman was awarded a CP in the auction, stating she was running a “woman-owned business” entitled to the 35% new entrant bidding credit. She also stated that no other person had any interest in Newman Broadcasting. She was granted the permit, minus the 35% credit ($910,700). The call letters WJTK were chosen.
The FCC then alleged that John Newman, who owned several radio stations at the time, was substantially involved in WJTK. In fact, the government said, he ran the radio station. In other words, he never would have qualified for that 35% discount.
In 2016, the FCC filed a lawsuit against Newman Broadcasting seeking to recover the $910,700, plus thousands of dollars more for false claims that were made. In 2017, Newman tried to get the suit thrown out of court. That was denied by a judge.
Thursday update: According to the receiver for Newman Broadcasting, Mark Healy, the court case with The FCC was settled.
Newman originally paid $2.6 million for the CP.
Here’s what you would be bidding on:
A Non-Directional Antenna (Antenna Make/Model: Propagation System Inc. PSIFMR-3-HWS, 3 section, 0.5 wavelength spaced); FCC License; Nautel V10 Totally solid state 10KW broadcast Transmitter, desktop computers, computer peripherals and related equipment. The station is currently under SSTA.
Not included in the sale are studio space and tower lease. In the event bidder is interested in leasing space/tower, bidder must contact tower lease manager to negotiate terms with lessor prior to auction ending (contact info available upon request). It is not necessary to contact the tower lease manager if the bidder is planning to relocate the antenna/equipment.
Bids are due by 11 a.m. on June 26 by e-mail to [email protected].