Home Music Industry News WJNZ broadcaster Robert S. Womack rallies support to block sale of radio...

WJNZ broadcaster Robert S. Womack rallies support to block sale of radio station

chris brown

ROBERT S WOMACK 1 FIGHT FOR AIRGRAND RAPIDS — Supporters are lining up behind longtime broadcaster Robert S. Womack, who is trying to block the sale of WJNZ Radio, 1140 AM, the station he’s worked at for years.

Earlier this year, the station went into receivership after its owner defaulted on loans. Womack and other investors launched an effort to keep the station, but were outbid by Christian programmer Holy Family Radio of Lowell.

Womack contends the bidding process was unfair and biased. A change of ownership would end the station’s long history of serving the black community. Womack estimates the station has 50,000 to 70,000 listeners. “This is the second-largest city in Michigan and the 39th largest media market in the nation without a black-supported station,” said Mark Covington, 49, a longtime listener who on Wednesday stopped by the station’s studio, located in a converted house at 1919 Eastern Ave. SE. Listeners bought up 100 T-shirts with the message “I’m the pulse of the city 1140 AM,” said Womack, who has ordered another 200 shirts.

Supporters plan to wear their shirts when they gather at Rosa Park Circle at 10 a.m. Friday before marching to the Kent County Courthouse, where Womack’s lawyers will ask for an injunction against the station’s sale. The sale to the new owners is set to be finalized Friday.

Womack said he and other investors reached a deal with station owner Michael St. Cyr in July 2008 to buy the station for $300,000 in a lease-management agreement. Although they never fell behind on their $10,000-a-month payments, the deal fell apart after St. Cyr defaulted on a loan with Huntington Bank in which the station was part of the collateral, Womack said.

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