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KORC Radio going back on air

Posted: Monday, Nov 30th, 2009

Just days after Waldport radio station KORC AM 820 had been disassembled after the owners could not find a buyer, a last minute deal breathed new life into the south county’s only radio station.

On Nov. 24, Leighton M. “Linc” Reed-Nickerson and Joan Reed-Nickerson announced the purchase of KORC, which has been off the air since May 16. They plan to begin broadcasting on April 1.

“We believe the acquisition of KORC is an extraordinary opportunity,” the Reed-Nickersons said. “The Oregon coast is rich in history and tradition. This radio station is part of the coastal community. Our focus is clear; make the station integral to the daily lives of the citizens of this community; a reliable resource and a good neighbor.”

KORC’s former owners, Larry and Margaret Profitt, purchased the station in 2003. After the economy took its toll on advertising revenue, they put it on the market in 2008. Georgia Triangle Broadcasting made a purchase offer in March 2009 and briefly operated the station, changing the country and oldies format to rock and shock programming, before backing out of the deal.

KORC went dark on May 16, although the Profitts kept the transmitting equipment assembled in hopes of finding a buyer. But in the past few weeks, they had cleared out of KORC’s downtown Waldport location.

The failure of the Georgia Triangle deal created an opportunity for the Reed-Nickersons, who had been looking for a radio station.

“Obviously to be in a purchasing position at this time with the economy such as it is, it’s ideal. We can get in there and get it back up in operation and I think in a year or two get some positive cash flow,” Linc Reed-Nickerson said. “And it’s going to be fun to be in a community where you can really be part of the community. This is what I’m looking forward to, getting and being with the community, being with the people and making it their radio station as much as mine.”

Reed-Nickerson brings decades of broadcast experience to the helm of KORC. He’s been a ham radio operator (W7HIE) for 50 years and started his broadcast career in 1962. He’s owned radio stations in New York and Pennsylvania and has done television broadcasting, as well. He retired last June as senior manager at telecommunications giant Qualcomm.

The new owners are seeking a permit to increase the power of the 1,000-watt station, which currently is required to power down to 15 watts at night. Linc Reed-Nickerson said the power boost will allow the station to serve listeners in Newport and Toledo, as well as the Waldport-Yachats area.

A decision on what format the station will use when it begins broadcasting has not been made.

“As we know the community a little better and know what people want, we’ll make a final decision,” Linc Reed-Nickerson said. “We want to give the community what they want, and we’re going to do a lot of live stuff; that’s the whole key.”

With the station’s former home no longer available, the Reed-Nickerson’s are looking for property in the Waldport area. If anything pushes back the broadcast date, it probably won’t be the lack of building space.

“It may very well start out with the station in my mobile home,” Linc Reed-Nickerson said. “ I had a very similar experience about 35-years ago. I bought a distressed station that was dark, very much like this one, and bought myself a construction trailer to start out in.”

Linc Reed-Nickerson said he’s had talks with former owner Larry Profitt about a future role at the new KORC. Profitt and his daughter, Beth Riggs, hosted the popular morning show “Live with Beth and Larry.”

“I know they were very much part of the community, and they were very well liked in the community, so I certainly intend to try and keep them on the air,” Linc Reed-Nickerson said.

The Profitts could not be reached for comment.

The sale of KORC is subject to Federal Communications Commission approval, something Linc Reed-Nickerson believes will happen sometime in January.

In addition to their interest in broadcasting, the Reed-Nickersons are serious railroad buffs. Linc serves on the board of directors of the Orange Empire Railway Museum in Perris, Calif.

Joan Reed-Nickerson is president and majority owner of Chelatchie Locomotive Company, which rebuilds and repairs steam locomotives for tourist railroads and private owners. She is currently rebuilding her own steam locomotive she plans to operate in tourist service. The Reed-Nickersons also own Livingston Mountain Locomotive Works, which leases diesel locomotives to short line railroads.

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