Our Company was founded in 1961 when George G. Beasley, at the time a high school principal, was awarded an FCC license to build his first radio station, WPYB-AM, a daytime-only 500 watt signal, in Benson, North Carolina. Mr. Beasley was part of a small group of broadcasting pioneers who were introducing radio to smaller cities and towns throughout the country, a technology previously unavailable outside larger cities. Like many first-time FCC licensees, Mr. Beasley’s budding interest in radio grew into a full-time calling.
Mr. Beasley soon sold his first station at a profit, re-investing the proceeds into the purchase of WFMC-AM in nearby Goldsboro, NC, which brought both a more powerful signal and the attraction of a larger market. This cycle has repeated itself over five decades and is a cornerstone of Beasley Broadcast Group’s strategy to identify and acquire under-performing radio stations in growth markets.
During the 1960’s and early 1970’s, our geographic reach broadened. Stations were purchased in Virginia, Kentucky, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Indiana and Ohio. A highlight was the 1976 purchase of WDMT-FM in Cleveland, which marked Beasley Broadcast Group’s first operation of a true large market station.
Through the late 1970’s and into the 1980’s, our Company continued its disciplined expansion through the Eastern United States while adding a station in Little Rock, Arkansas, our first purchase west of the Mississippi River. Growth of FM radio during this period was a major catalyst for both our Company and for the radio broadcasting industry at-large, helping expand the medium’s appeal to a greater range of listeners and advertisers. During this time, four of George Beasley’s five children came of age to join their Dad’s company as employees. Bruce Beasley, Brian Beasley, Caroline Beasley and Brad Beasley had been raised – literally and figuratively – in the business and earned spots in the managerial team that best suited their interests and abilities.
After moving the corporate headquarters to Naples, Florida in 1988, Beasley Broadcast took another pivotal step by entering one of the nation’s top radio revenue markets through the purchase of KRTH-AM/FM in Los Angeles, California. Our Company had never before faced such opportunity, or risk, than it did with this major market purchase. It was in fact, the single largest acquisition in our then 27-year history. Successfully selling the AM, overpowering a direct format challenge on the FM counterpart, creating a perennially top-five rated station, adults 25-54, and eventually selling KRTH-FM in 1994 for the highest price ever paid, at that time, for a stand-alone FM station proved Beasley Broadcast Group could operate successfully at the highest levels of the radio broadcasting industry.
With the passage of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, media ownership limits were modified and deregulation unfolded. Broadcasters were now free to own up to eight stations in a market, a change that forever altered the radio industry landscape. Embracing this new opportunity, we sought to build station clusters in large and mid-size markets, which included: Miami; Philadelphia; Fayetteville, NC; Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville, NC; Augusta, GA; and, Ft. Myers-Naples, FL. In the late 1990s, we broadened our acquisition strategy to include assembling a portfolio of AM stations in Top 50 markets including Atlanta, Boston, Philadelphia and West Palm Beach.
As the new Millennium arrived, Beasley Broadcast Group completed its initial public offering and in February 2000 began trading on the NASDAQ National Market under the symbol “BBGI.” Our first year as a public company was capped with the acquisition of Centennial Broadcasting, which added clusters in Las Vegas and New Orleans. In 2006, we acquired a strong AM station in Las Vegas and in the year ahead retooled our station cluster in that desirable market. In 2007, a station was added in Wilmington, DE to complement our Philadelphia holdings.
During these years, Beasley took a leadership role in the radio industry as one of the first broadcasters to embrace and invest in HD Radio™, a technology that enables AM and FM radio stations to broadcast their programs digitally, providing listeners with improved audio quality, better signal reception, song and artist information, as well as the ability to choose between multiple programming options on the same FM frequency.
With discipline and determination, our Company endured the recessionary years that started in earnest for us in 2008. Even during this difficult time, we felt the responsibility to actively and consistently participate in radio’s continued evolution. In 2009, we introduced our free app, iRadioNOW, for iPhone and iPod Touch listeners so that listeners could access Beasley radio stations whenever and wherever they lived. An Android version soon followed. By 2013, having successfully navigated through a very challenging period, we focused on the future, adding corporate positions to strengthen both programming and digital departments and upgrading facilities in several markets.
From our humble roots in 1961, Beasley Broadcast Group has steadily and strategically progressed into a multi-platform marketing solutions provider that offers on-air, online, mobile and social media applications to benefit both our consumers and advertisers. Today, strong digital and interactive departments complement our solid programming, sales and business teams.
Beasley Broadcast Group owns and operates 53 radio stations (33 FM and 20 AM) in twelve large- and mid-size markets. We are the oldest, continuously managed, publicly traded, pure play radio broadcaster in the country. As proud as we are of our 50-plus year heritage, we are equally enthusiastic about the tremendous opportunities that exist in our industry today; and we remain as passionate as ever about this ubiquitous business called radio.