Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Walker to Buy 101.5 Radio Station

Developer Ed Walker has his eye on 101.5.^

Roanoke radio station WVMP, 101.5 FM, which has become something of a force in the Roanoke radio market during the past year with its listener-driven programming and expanding partnerships, is in the process of being purchased by developer Ed Walker, according to a news release.

The station, known as “The Music Place,” has caught the imagination of a broad range of Roanokers tired of bland music programming and ownership that doesn’t reflect anything about Roanoke.

Walker is the visionary downtown developer who has renovated several historic buildings and built the city's downtown community into a force.

Here’s the news release:

Roanoke CityWorks Community Broadcasting has filed for a change of ownership with the FCC, indicating its planned purchase of the assets of WVMP, 101.5 FM, pending FCC approval.

CCB is an initiative of CityWorks, the social entrepreneurship entity of community developer, Ed Walker, which uses principles from commerce, entrepreneurship, arts and culture, education and knowledge, as well as connectivity to strengthen community in the region.
101.5 has been owned by Centennial Broadcasting and operated by its local station manager, Tom Kennedy, and his staff.

In the 15 months since 101.5 the music place has been on the air, it has demonstrated its ability to garner a passionate and loyal following, comprised of a highly desirable listener profile, of an upscale, intelligent, discerning, difficult to reach audience.
Through a format unique to this region, the Adult Album Alternative format is known for its singer/songwriter style, a large selection of music and artists, and a non-traditional approach to advertising.

The AAA format of 101.5 the music place, along with its involvement with local cultural arts and community stewardship, has helped spawn new economic and cultural development for the City. The community response has been of tremendous unity, a new enthusiasm for the Roanoke Valley, and of ancillary businesses emerging, through a growth in the cultural arts.

Under Centennial's ownership and Kennedy's leadership, 101.5 developed into an important and innovative contributor to the Roanoke Valley. Still, Centennial decided to head in different directions and began making preparations to sell 101.5. Over the last 14 months, Walker, of CityWorks, says he became familiar with 101.5 and admired the significant leadership role it was developing.

The station's focus on community initiatives and the curatorial quality of its programming, and deviation from traditional approaches to advertising were compelling to CityWorks and worth preserving, he says.
Walker says the risk of losing 101.5 was significant enough to compel CityWorks to examine the possibility of buying the station, keeping the team in place, and to begin developing initiatives to vault 101.5 into the highest level of the nation's very finest, small AAA stations.

Walker says CityWorks intends to use its capital and creativity to continue the best aspects of 101.5 the music place, and to build on them to create a profitable enterprise and a powerful community resource.
"Centennial's entire team has been so impressive and of such a high caliber. I'm grateful that they allowed Tom Kennedy develop his approach, which is of demonstrable benefit for Roanoke, and allowed us this time for a seamless transition," Walker says. “101.5 the music place will continue its work as a locally owned, true community station, in their promotion of local cultural arts and community stewardship.”

Following this transaction, Tom Kennedy will remain as meneral Manager, and will be employed by CityWorks Community Broadcasting.


  1. Run Democracy Now! at 10 pm. An alternative to Faux News for the discerning listener.

  2. I hope Mr. Walker will consider offering the listening public in our area the very best news and analysis program in the country, Amy Goodman's and Pacifica Foundation's Democracy Now! I used to listen to it every day in Knoxville and I really miss it in the Roanoke Valley. Please consider it!
    Thanks - Michael Bentley