Originally created 09/05/97

In the money: MCG agrees to sell gift radio stations

The Medical College of Georgia Foundation may soon be $14 million richer after it agreed Thursday to sell three radio stations donated to the college in June.

Cumulus Broadcasting Inc. of Chicago has agreed to buy WBBQ AM and FM and WZNY, said James Osborne, executive director of the foundation. The sale must be approved by the Federal Communications Commission, which is expected by December, Dr. Osborne said.

George Weiss, who is receiving cancer treatment at MCG, donated the stations to the foundation in June. It is the largest single gift the college has ever received and at the time officials said the stations would be put up for sale.

"We're very excited about this. We think this is going to be a win-win situation for everyone," Dr. Osborne said.

On Wednesday, Cumulus acquired three other radio stations in Augusta when it finalized a deal for Wilks Broadcasting Co., said owner Jeff Wilks.

"They entered into an agreement with us about three months ago," Mr. Wilks said. Cumulus gets WEKL, WUUS and WRXR in the deal, he said. He would not disclose the sale price.

"We are excited to be a part of the Augusta market," said William Bungeroth, president and chief executive officer of Cumulus, in a prepared statement released by MCG. Mr. Weiss could not be reached at his home Thursday evening.

Cumulus was one of five companies from around the country who were interviewed in the last two weeks before the sale was approved, Dr. Osborne said. MCG President Fran Tedesco will make a recommendation to the foundation's board about how the money will be spent, but it likely will translate into more research money, Dr. Osborne said.

Mr. Weiss and Dr. Tedesco have talked about using the money to build the foundation's endowment, the interest from which could then be used to pay for endowed chairs and endowed research areas, Dr. Osborne said.

Though there are no specifics yet, "our biggest grant area is in molecular medicine" and gene research, Dr. Osborne said.

Though the sale will be completed by the end of the year, the gift will live on, Dr. Osborne said.

"This gift will be felt for many years to come," he said. "It will certainly leave a legacy for Mr. Weiss and what he's done for MCG."


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