WCSR Radio Hillsdale, a longtime staple of its community, will soon be under the management and ownership of Jamie McKibben, owner of McKibben Media Group of Jackson. WCSR signed a purchase agreement of $3.8 million with McKibben Media Group to acquire WCSR 1340 AM, 92.1 FM, and 99.5 FM.
Michael Flynn said he made the decision to sign a purchase agreement with McKibben after the passing of his father Tony Flynn, the former station manager at WCSR.
“This is not the end of something, just another chapter in the history of our business,” Flynn said. “Jamie brings a lot of youth and enthusiasm. He knows a lot of nuances of the new technologies.”
A Hillsdale native himself, Jamie McKibben praised WCSR and its staff.
“I grew up listening to the radio station, and they do a great job,” McKibben said. “It’ll be the same as it has been. Not much of the station will change from week to week.”
Scot Bertram, general manager for Radio Free Hillsdale, also complimented WCSR and its involvement in the community and college.
“The Hillsdale community relies on WCSR and the station is a wonderful example of how relevant and necessary local radio is,” Bertram said. “We have had students work for WCSR while attending Hillsdale, and I look forward to talking with the new owner after the transfer is complete.”
WCSR’s local news coverage was a major selling point for McKibben who also revealed that WCSR will continue to broadcast Hillsdale College sporting events.
“They’ve been doing such a great job, locally. They’re going to keep doing what they’ve been doing,” Bertram said. “I think the challenge radio has is not being local enough. And WCSR is local, so hyperlocal.”
Similarly, McKibben does not anticipate any significant staff changes with Flynn continuing at his current position. “It will take a while to settle in and make some changes. I don’t think there will be any radical changes,” McKibben said. “The staff will be the same.”
McKibben, however, said he’s interested in growing Hillsdale student engagement and involvement with the station.
“I believe with the college teaching classes, I think there are opportunities for kids to work as interns and part-time employees and maybe even full-time employees for the radio station.”
Martin Peterson, Hillsdale College senior and aspiring radio host, praised his experiences with WCSR and encouraged other students to look into the station. “I’ve been on the air since sixth grade, and it has been a true blessing. Working with such great people and doing something I love has been a great experience.”
As a part of the acquisition agreement, McKibben filed in December with the Federal Communications Commission to receive permission for the exchange of license. McKibben said he expects the FCC to approve the grant in early spring, granting him control over WCSR.