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Former Bob Jones gospel station switches to conservative talk

A 100,000-watt radio station in Greenville has launched a new conservative talk format featuring nationally syndicated hosts.

Bob Jones University's Gospel Fellowship Association sold WMUU-94.5 last fall to Salem Communications for $3 million ($1 million cash and $2 million promissory note), according to several media sources that cover the talk radio business.
The move puts the station in competition in the Upstate with Entercom's 950 WORD, 1330 WYRD, and 106.3 WYRD-FM.
"The 94.5 signal will give Salem a potential advantage as its 100kW at 454 meters gives it one of the best signals in the market," said an industry website called
Salem launched the all-talk format on Dec. 3 and the station has been promoting the conservative talkers as "the Upstate's all-new conservative talk."
The lineup:
• Bill Bennett's Morning in America (6-9 a.m.), which runs on 200 affiliates and features the former Harvard law graduate who served under Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush and wrote the best-selling "Book of Virtues" series.
• Mike Gallagher (9 a.m.-noon), a frequent Fox News guest who has traveled to big news scenes to perform his show.
• Dennis Prager (noon-3 p.m.), who has been broadcasting on radio in Los Angeles since 1982 and has appeared on Larry King Live, Hardball, Hannity & Colmes, CBS Evening News, The Today Show and other programs.
• Michael Medved (3-6 p.m.), who bills himself as "a contemporary talk show with a new style and personality."
• Hugh Hewitt (6-9 p.m.), co-host of the weeknight television Life & Times Tonight, a three-time Emmy award winner on KCET-TV, Los Angeles. Author of five books, Hewitt writes widely on topics from politics to religion to culture for magazines and newspapers across the United States, his website said.
"It is always exciting to enter a new market in which we have not had an owned and operated station," Salem president Greg Anderson said in a news release. "It's equally exciting to debut our format and programming on a dominant, crystal clear 100,000 watt signal that will blanket the entire market. For the first time a NewsTalk format will be heard throughout the entire metro market and well beyond."
Mark Warwick, the general manager of WTZQ-1600 AM, said he had heard from listeners who had dropped WMUU and turned to the Hendersonville station because they liked popular music and not talk radio.
Art Cooley, the owner of WHKP-1450 AM, said he did not think the new station would affect his station's audience share because it's not local. Yet it's difficult to match the trend of larger metro areas with talk radio. WHKP has tried local news-talk programming with limited success. "All the same people call all the time," Cooley said.
The station airs the third hour of Asheville talker Matt Mittan's show from 5-6 p.m.
WTZQ-1600 AM plays popular music throughout the day and airs Lightning radio on Thursday mornings at 8 with local news and commentary by Lightning editor Bill Moss, Warwick and morning show host George Henry, who got his start at WMUU at Bob Jones University.