Signal Acquisition as an Expansion Strategy

The pandemic has led to softer demand and declines in prices for radio signals, which is resulting in signals coming up for sale in markets across the country. For example, WXXI recently acquired a commercial FM radio signal that used to broadcast jazz in Rochester from a local entrepreneur for a combination of cash and a charitable contribution from the seller.

Given market conditions that might offer good expansion opportunities, we thought it would be a good time to recap the basic steps to explore whether a signal in your market is worth buying.

  1. Map the signal. Reach out to an engineer or Public Media Company to have Longley Rice Map prepared. The Longley Rice Map shows the reach of the potential signal and how it overlaps with other signals your station owns or operates. The Longley-Rice method considers the terrain and generally provides a more accurate picture of the listening area than the FCC contours.
  2. Attain a valuation. Valuation is an important step in determining the feasibility of acquiring a signal and if the asking price is reasonable. Public Media Company has been doing valuations for over two decades and has a large sales database to create a reasonable fair market value for the subject station.
  3. Determine the financial and public service impact of the signal. Like any other capital investment project, acquiring a signal requires rigorous financial analysis and strategic discussion to determine its impact. A financial analysis is needed to set negotiating parameters with the seller. Public Media Company has done over 130 transactions over the course of its history and is well-equipped to provide a detailed financial outlook and strategic insight.

For more information about expanding your signal reach, please do not hesitate to contact Alison Scholly at