The story of Beasley Media Group is a great example of the American dream.
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 turned his budding interest in radio into a full-time calling. He soon sold his first station at a profit, reinvesting the proceeds into the purchase of WFMC-AM in nearby Goldsboro, North Carolina, which brought both a more powerful signal and the attraction of a larger market. During the 1960s and early 1970s, the 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 1970s and into the 1980s, Beasley Media Group continued its disciplined expansion throughout the eastern United States, while adding a station in Little Rock, Arkansas, the company’s first purchase west of the Mississippi River.
It was this type of forward-thinking vision over five decades that has become a cornerstone of Beasley Broadcast Group’s strategy to identify and acquire underperforming radio stations in growth markets.
Growth of FM radio during this period was a major catalyst both for 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. Caroline Beasley, Bruce Beasley, Brian 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 Group 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. 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 station, overpowering a direct format challenge on the FM counterpart, creating a perennially Top 5 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, North Carolina; Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville, North Carolina; Augusta, Georgia; and Fort Myers-Naples, Florida. 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, Florida. 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, Delaware, 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 they wanted and wherever they lived. An Android version soon followed. By 2013, having successfully navigated 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. In 2016, the Company expanded its footprint into major markets when it purchased 20 stations in Boston, Charlotte, Detroit, New Jersey and Philadelphia from Greater Media, Inc., a privately held family company owned by the Bordes family. Celebrating its 56th anniversary this year, the Company currently owns and operates 64 stations (46 FM and 18 AM) in 15 large and mid-size markets in the United States. Beasley Media Group has steadily and strategically progressed into a multi-platform, marketing-solutions provider that offers on-air, online, and 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. Approximately 19 million consumers listen to Beasley radio stations weekly over-the-air, online, on smartphones and tablets and engage with the Company’s brands and personalities through digital platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, text, apps and email.