Update: Agreement reached on sale of WSTP to Catawba Foundation

Popular WSTP Morning Show host Kent Bernhardt
Popular WSTP Morning Show host Kent Bernhardt
Longtime WSTP Sportscaster Howard Platt
Longtime WSTP Sportscaster Howard Platt

SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - On Friday a story posted here about the sale of WSTP, AM-1490, was removed after one of the owners of the station called to say that the information was incorrect.

The information in the story had been confirmed earlier by Catawba College, but Mike Mangan of WSTP said the information was premature and that negotiations were still ongoing.

Late Sunday night Tim Coates of Rowan Media, the ownership group of WSTP, sent an email to WBTV saying that an agreement had been reached.

"Rowan Media's controlling stockholder has been in discussions with a representative of 2Bproductions, LLC about the possible sale of WSTP by Rowan Media Inc.," Coates wrote.   "A tentative agreement has been reached and it is anticipated that an application to the FCC should be submitted within the next 30 days."

2B Productions LLC is the newly established Catawba College Foundation through 2B Productions LLC. WSTP will continue its broadcasts, offering an expanded platform for Catawba College students majoring in business or communication arts and hoping to pursue related careers, a news release from Catawba College said.

Buddy Poole, president and general manager of WSAT, will oversee the transition, according to the college's news release.

Poole said that very soon a survey of Rowan County residents will be conducted via phone and in-person to determine what format WSTP can offer that will appeal to most listeners in Rowan County and help the station be successful.

"We do plan to add more local news with Catawba students covering everything from city and county government to fire, accidents, schools, and whatever is happening in Rowan County," Poole added.

Bill Graham of Salisbury, a Catawba College trustee and 1983 alumnus, again has been the driving force behind the Catawba Foundation's acquisition of WSTP. Profits from the operation of WSAT and WSTP will be donated to Catawba College through the Catawba Foundation.

With the start of the 2014-2015 academic year, Catawba launched a sports communication concentration that it plans to grow into an academic major. This new concentration will be an option to students pursuing an undergraduate degree in communication arts, an academic program at the college chaired by Dr. Tim Moreland.

Students pursuing this concentration will be learning to do play by play, interviews and features on student athletes. They will also be able to tap into resources offered by collaborations with the National Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association (NSSA), now located on Catawba's campus, WSAT, and now WSTP.

WSTP signed on in 1939 and is now the home to the popular Kent & Howard Morning Show, as well as live sports broadcasts of UNC and Duke athletics, Rowan County American Legion baseball, and high school sports.

WSTP is also a new partner with WBTV and broadcasts WBTV News each weekday from 5:00 to 6:30.

At this time it is not know how any potential sale of WSTP will impact current programming on the station.