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WECK-AM to focus on local news WLVL's owner buys station, plans Erie County coverage

The owner of Lockport's locally focused WLVL AM-1340 radio station has signed a deal to buy WECK AM-1230, planning to turn the station into a community station offering a blend of local news, talk and syndicated shows.

"Like WLVL covers Niagara County, WECK would be the counterpart to cover Erie County," said Richard Greene. "Local ownership will help the operation succeed."

Greene's Culver Communications has to be approved as new owner by the Federal Communications Commission, Greene said.

The switch is expected to take place in February.

The station cost $1.3 million, Greene said. It currently offers "classic country" music.

Greene acknowledged that he was bucking the industry trend that has seen more radio stations bought by large national chains.

"There's approximately $70 million in local radio advertising revenue in the marketplace," he said. "It's been flat for a couple of years, but I'm a Buffalo native and I've always been a believer in the Buffalo area."

Broadcasting high school sports like basketball, football and hockey will also be a possibility, Greene said. He said the overhaul of WECK should create 10 to 12 new jobs in Erie County.

Jeff Silver, general manager of Regent Broadcasting's Buffalo stations, said the deal was part of a corporate strategy of selling "nonstrategic assets."

The other Regent stations in Western New York -- WYRK, WBLK, WJYE, WBUF, all on the FNM spectrum -- will not be affected, Silver said.

e-mail: agalarneau@buffnews.com

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