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WBMI West Branch Brouhaha

Covers all of Northern Lower Michigan (from Ludington to Tawas northward), as well as the Straits Area and Soo Region.
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Dr. Sandi
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WBMI West Branch Brouhaha

Post by Dr. Sandi » Wed Aug 26, 2020 6:31 am

Wow, I was intrigued to read about the recently settled lawsuit over ownership of WBMI.

While checking MI radio actions at the FCC, I came across an application to return ownership of WBMI to Peggy Warner from Michael Fleming and Charles Cobb of CF Broadcasting. CF was officially in charge until this past weekend when they signed for an off air STA.

From what I can gather from the Ogemaw County court document signed Aug. 6, Mrs. Warner gets the station and all of its parts back. In return, she will stop suing to take legal possession of Fleming Centennial Farm in Gladwin County as compensation for non payment of arrears on the original purchase.

Mrs. Warner sold WBMI to CF Broadcasters in 2011 for $360,000. Monthly payments over $4000 and a balloon payment of a bit over $250,000 on the fourth anniversary of the contract. CF ran into financial trouble sometime around when the balloon payment came due as far as I can tell.

Then in August 2019, Cobb and Fleming applied to transfer WBMI to a new partnership owned by them, but now called WBMI 105, possibly to put the station out of the hands of the bankruptcy court.

This did not sit well with Peggy Warner, who was able to convince the Ogemaw County court to appoint Mr. Mark Sanger as the receiver of WBMI. The intent was to have Sanger find a new buyer for the station after the default by CF Broadcasters.

Bottom line, it appears that Cobb and Fleming have given WBMI back to Peggy Warner. In addition, they have agreed to be responsible for any pending debts incurred on the station's behalf under their watch. And to make the deal work, Mrs. Warner has agreed to stop her suit to take possession of Fleming's farm, which was put up for collateral in the original sale.

I guess that means that WBMI is on the market. But whew, what a soap opera!

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Re: WBMI West Branch Brouhaha

Post by organman95 » Wed Aug 26, 2020 7:17 am

Like sands through the hour glass...

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Re: WBMI West Branch Brouhaha

Post by EdWalker » Wed Aug 26, 2020 8:08 am

WBMI has been silent since January 25. The receiver filed the first STA then. The recent filing was an extension of that STA.

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Re: WBMI West Branch Brouhaha

Post by CK-722 » Wed Aug 26, 2020 11:58 am

I've noticed that since WBMI has been off, I can get WWCK-FM up past West Branch on I-75, to Grayling and beyond, usually in the morning. Used to be like that when it was just 3 kW in the old days. And the last time they were off.

Is THAT where they got the idea for the 486-SX?

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Re: WBMI West Branch Brouhaha

Post by Trophyhead » Wed Aug 26, 2020 4:56 pm

Nice to see Mark Sanger make some use of the law degree he earned while pushing "Ironside" around.

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Re: WBMI West Branch Brouhaha

Post by BayCityJohn2337 » Wed Aug 26, 2020 9:05 pm

WBMI reached Pinconning to the south and Grayling to the north. Spotty in Tawas, But often WWCK would blast in over the weak signal. It was satalite feed other than in the mornings. Seems WGDN from Gladwin is filling in the void, for Classic Country for the area.

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Re: WBMI West Branch Brouhaha

Post by ftballfan » Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:00 am

WBMI is one of the few full-power stations in northern Michigan that I have never received (WLJD is another). If they were on, I might have gotten them by now with WSRJ off as well

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Re: WBMI West Branch Brouhaha

Post by Colonel Flagg » Thu Aug 27, 2020 6:02 pm

WBMI sounded pretty good in the early 80s as "Stereo Rock I-105" which I believe was some sort of live/assist operation, with the daytime AM (WBMB) being live. That was a different time and place, in many ways. Later on, (90's?) and who knows how many owners later, WBMI was a decently put together Oldies station. Not being a big Country fan, I never paid much attention to it as a country station. There are already other options for country in that area, so Country was likely selected to please local advertisers, and not necessarily listeners.

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Re: WBMI West Branch Brouhaha

Post by BayCityJohn2337 » Thu Aug 27, 2020 7:44 pm

They kinda had a niche format, playing classic country in a more full rotation. Just think of it as country gold sat night every day. Im sure it's missed by many.

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