WAIT to go dark as Newsweb sells land to McHenry County College

Newsweb Corporation

While the future of northwest suburban WAIT 850-AM remains uncertain, owner Newsweb Radio has agreed to sell the station's transmitter site in Crystal Lake to McHenry County College.

The McHenry County College board of trustees voted unanimously in May to purchase the 26.9-acre parcel east of Ring Road adjacent to the college for unspecified future development. The deal has not yet been finalized.

McHenry County College

“Contiguous property is always of great value to us,” said trustee Diane Evertsen. “Obviously we can’t see ahead what’s going to happen in the next 10, 20 years. But I think having it is certainly better than not.”

As reported here Monday, WAIT ceased broadcasting the time-brokered Spanish-language Christian format “La Promesa” in July and has been vamping with syndicated public-service programming and an eclectic music format since then.

Now it’s about to go dark while the company looks for other transmitter sites, according to Mark Pinski, general manager of Newsweb Radio.

“We plan on requesting FCC permission to be off the air temporarily later this week,” Pinski said Monday.

Newsweb Radio acquired the 2,500-watt daytime station for $8.25 million in 2003 and had been airing time-brokered religious programming in Spanish and English since 2009.

Last year the company sold WCPQ 99.9-FM in Park Forest to Bible Broadcasting Network for $5 million. In 2015 it shut down WCFJ 1470-AM in Chicago Heights and returned the station's license to the FCC.

Owned by Chicago media magnate and Democratic megadonor Fred Eychaner, Newsweb Radio continues to operate progressive talk WCPT 820-AM and time-brokered WCPY 92.7-FM in Arlington Heights; WSBC 1240-AM in Chicago; and WNDZ 750-AM in Portage, Indiana.

Monday’s comment of the day: Mark Quinn: Good for Mary Mitchell. She doesn't have to agree with me on everything for me to recognize that she is a terrific journalist. I wish her well and I, like at least one other commenter, hope that she still appears on “Chicago Tonight” with a degree of regularity.