Nassau’s Maine Stations Split Up
Auction concoction: This much is known for certain. Somebody bought the ten Nassau Broadcasting radio stations in Maine at a court-ordered bankruptcy auction on May 2. Exactly who and exactly what they purchased is unclear.
According to Radio-Info.com, most of the stations were grabbed by Bill Binnie, a New Hampshire television station owner and former candidate for the U.S. Senate, and his partner Jeff Shapiro, described as a “veteran New England radio owner.” The two bid $12.5 million for an assortment of broadcast properties in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. But the website also reported that two Maine stations went to other bidders.
WBQW (104.7 FM) in Kennebunkport was sold to Mainestream Media for $150,000. WBQW is part of the three-station WBACH classical network that the Maine Public Broadcasting Network had expressed interest in operating. No word on how the ownership change will affect that effort. As for Mainestream Media, it’s apparently not the Portland-based marketing company that formerly used that name. But who it is isn’t clear.
WXTP (106.7 FM) in North Windham went to the Presence Radio Network for $250,000. Presence has been leasing the station for some time, airing nationally syndicated Catholic talk shows.
A judge still must rule next week on several lingering issues in Nassau’s demise, including a late claim by the company’s former owner that he still owns property on which some of the Maine stations are located.
Sucking up to Sussman? The MaineToday Media newspapers took two significantly different approaches to covering the May 2 announcement by Republican Jon Courtney of his candidacy for the 1st Congressional District seat now held by Democrat Chellie Pingree. While all the papers used the same story, by staff writer Beth Staples, the editing showed marked variations.
In the Portland Press Herald, the article contained not only a disclaimer stating that Pingree is married to S. Donald Sussman, majority owner of the Maine Today papers, but also remarks Courtney made that were critical of Sussman and Pingree. The candidate referred to Sussman as “unfriendly” and said of Pingree, “We cannot be discouraged by the fact we are running against a billionaire. By virtue of her marriage, Chellie is a billionaire. They have made no bones about it. They will spend any amount to win this election.”
At MaineToday’s Waterville daily, the Morning Sentinel, the disclaimer ran, but not the critical comments.
Likewise at the Augusta-based Kennebec Journal.
Whatever the reason for this odd editing decision, it makes it appear as if somebody at MaineToday is censoring comments that might annoy the big boss.
For an unbiased accounting of Courtney’s announcement, the Bangor Daily News version by reporter Seth Koenig is probably a better bet.
Unconfirmed confirmation: It’s not as if the Bangor Daily is perfect, though. State House reporter Eric Russell posted a story on May 2 about Governor Paul LePage’s nomination of a new Public Utilities Commission member.
In his first take, Russell claimed the nominee had to be confirmed by both the state House and Senate. He then corrected that to indicate it was just the Senate that approves gubernatorial appointments, but added the erroneous information that it required a two-thirds vote.
In Maine, most confirmations work like this: The candidate is given a public hearing by one of the joint standing committees composed of House and Senate members. The committee then votes on the nomination and sends its recommendation to the Senate. It takes a two-thirds vote of the senators to overturn the committee’s decision. Anything less and the nominee is confirmed.
Sun sets for six: Last week, the Lewiston Sun Journal eliminated its advertising graphic design department, costing six people their jobs. According to a knowledgeable industry source, the graphics work will now be done by an outside company.
Al Diamon can be emailed at email@example.com.