Texas-sized deal to bring Triple A to Dallas

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KERA in Dallas will launch a Triple A public radio station in the nation’s fifth largest market with its purchase of 91.7 FM, a noncommercial radio frequency owned by religious broadcaster Covenant Educational Media under the call letters KVTT. The deal, announced today and billed as the largest radio transaction of 2009 to date, was brokered by Public Radio Capitol and partially financed by its Public Radio Fund. Other lenders include National Cooperative Bank and FJC, a public foundation that offers a special loan program for nonprofits. With a potential audience of 5.5 million listeners in the Dallas/Fort Worth metropolitan region, the transaction is a major expansion for public radio’s Triple A format, according to Erik Langner, who has been working on the deal since January 2008. “We did a lot of due diligence with the board to see how other public Triple A radio stations were operated,” KERA marketing chief Debra Johnson tells a local blogger for the Dallas Observer. “We . . . decided it was an opportunity we couldn’t pass by because it would probably never present itself again.” KERA President Mary Ann Alhadeff promises a “very, very rich musical discovery experience” in this interview with a KERA News reporter. The new station is slated to launch this fall. KERA also posted a FAQ on the transaction here.