WXXI to purchase Rochester’s now silent jazz station

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WXXI in Rochester, N.Y., has agreed to purchase WJZR from North Coast Radio Inc., according to an asset purchase agreement filed Thursday with the FCC.

WJZR, a commercially licensed station in Rochester, previously aired jazz and blues. It went off the air in July.

“We have been interested in acquiring an FM station for years,” WXXI President Norm Silverstein said in a Friday press release. “Investing in 105.9 FM will help us provide a better service to our community by reaching a broad and diverse listening audience and improving our services.”

WXXI did not specify its programming plans for the new frequency. The public broadcaster’s stations serving Rochester currently air NPR news, all-classical and contemporary music formats. WXXI also operates stations serving Houghton, Geneva and Ithaca, N.Y. 

The parties agreed to a $1.2 million purchase price, but WXXI will pay $675,000 in cash. R.B. Lee Rust of North Coast Radio will donate the remaining amount, $525,000, to the public broadcaster, according to the purchase agreement filed with the FCC. 

The deal is pending FCC approval. WXXI hopes to convert WJZR’s signal to a noncommercial license and put it back on the air next year, according to the release.

Scott Fybush of Fybush Media was the broker for the transaction. Fybush, a freelance journalist who specializes in covering broadcasting, is a contributor to Current. 

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