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East County Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018 1 year ago

LECOM buys Sarasota radio station

Jim Lampl sells WSRQ-FM 106.9 after running it for seven years.
by: Jay Heater Managing Editor

Sarasota's Jim Lampl wanted to offer a service to the community when he purchased radio station WSRQ-FM 106.9 in 2011.

He wanted to provide a venue where local politicians and community leaders could address issues and talk about important projects. Over the years, the radio station did just that.

On Tuesday, though, Lampl announced an agreement to sell his station to Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM).

"It was an adventure in misplaced altruism," Lampl said with a laugh on Thursday about his seven-year venture. "We had planned to reorganize and change the format, and then this deal fell out of the sky."

LECOM, which opened its Lakewood Ranch campus in 2004, saw the purchase as a community marketing opportunity. LECOM in March began operating its first radio station in Erie, Pa., the home of its main campus. This will be its second.

"It is an opportunity to get LECOM's name out there and information about all its programs," said LECOM Director of Communications Pierre Bellicini. "It's about brand recognition. We also will give messages about health and welfare."

The radio station, which will feature hits of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s along with health-related programming, will not sell advertising but will offer sponsored programming.

Lampl said he wasn't actively trying to sell the station when a broker suggested the sale to LECOM.

"It never would have occurred to me to reach out to LECOM," Lampl said. "But it was a perfect fit."

Lampl said part of the deal was installing three new antennas that will increase the strength of its signal and allow listeners to receive the station all the way to St. Petersburg. The deal must be approved by the Federal Communications Commission.

LECOM Radio General Manager Jim Schaffner said he was not willing to share any staffing decisions at this time. He was looking forward, though, to the new project.

"We wanted to create an awareness LECOM is here for the long term and we intend to grow," Schaffner said.

He said with the expanded strength of WSRQ's signal, it will have the ability to reach close to a million listeners.

"We are the largest medical school in the United States and we also have schools of dentistry and pharmacy (in Lakewood Ranch)," he said. "But the community will not know about us unless we have a platform."





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