Bill Kling: Oops, I did it again

Bill Kling's American Public Media Group has reportedly offered more than $20 million to buy WGTS, a college-owned radio station in the D.C. area.

The proposed deal, first reported by the Washington Times, would give Kling's public radio empire, which includes MPR and Southern California Public Radio, a presence in the nation's capital. MPR quoted Kling as saying the station, which can reach up to six million people, would focus on "global government issues."

WGTS, which has been around for 50 years, is owned by Columbia Union College, an affiliate of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The school's board is currently weighing Kling's big money offer, and will announce its decision in September. In the meantime, devotees of the station have made an impassioned effort to stop the sale, setting up two websites to preserve its current Christian format.

If this sounds familiar, it should. Kling pulled off a similar deal a couple years ago for St. Olaf's classic music radio station, WCAL, turning it into The Current. That deal has recently come under scrutiny in court, with WCAL backers saying St. Olaf lacked the legal standing to sell the station.

Ruth Sylte, a diehard supporter of St. Olaf's erstwhile station, sees this latest news as a little bit of history repeated: "The story is unfortunately very similar to the story of WCAL," she says.

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