In a summer marked by billion dollar station-group acquisitions, the sale of low power (LP) WJDP Pigeon Forge (TN) for $10--and a 2003 Coachmen Cross Country motor home--stands out even more.
The seller, John Colson Dash, is a minister who is seeking to exit the day to day broadcasting business, and was looking for a motor home in which to tour the country to spread God's word. The buyer, Randall Weiss, had a yen to launch a new Christian station, and had a motor home with 70,000 miles on it that he didn't need any more.
"An odd arrangement met our needs and his needs," says Weiss. "It's a non-traditional approach, but the LPTV world never lacks for creativity."
The deal awaits regulatory approval.
The seeds for the quirky arrangement were planted when Dash posted an inquiry on an LPTV message board on Yahoo, saying how he was looking to unload his station, and would not mind picking up a motor home in return. He says Weiss, who owns the LP Christian station group EICB (Excellence in Christian Broadcasting) with his wife, Adrienne, got back to him the next day.
Weiss says the "diesel pusher" RV was "no longer critical to the purpose of the ministry." He'd dealt with Dash before, he adds, when Dash sold him broadcast equipment after an EICB antenna was damaged in a tornado. And Weiss had been thinking about launching a low power station in Tennessee ever since a friend suggested he do so.
"I said, this may be the hand of God," says Weiss. "I'm gonna contact him."
With Weiss in Texas, the two worked out a deal based on an emailed photo and description of the RV. "I took him for what he said," says Dash.
WJDP is worth way more than the rig; Dash says he paid $100,000 for the license alone. But Dash was sold on the deal when Weiss said he'd keep the station's programming Christian.
"It's worth more to me to keep it in ministry," Dash says. "I'd rather get less money and keep it in ministry than to get more money and have the station selling brooms and mops."
Besides sharing the gospel from the road out of his new RV, Cash hopes to consult with low power station owners.
He harbors no seller's remorse.
"Randy was so kind to me," says Dash. "That's the deal we're doing. It's in the hands of the FCC now."
Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.
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