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Barrow Radio Station Changing Ownership

The new owner has plans to steer programming away from syndicated talk shows.

Barrow's WIMO 1300 will soon have a new owner, pending FCC approval.

Jeffrey Batten, who owns five other FM and AM stations in North Georgia, plans to increase local programming at the station and move away from syndicated talk shows.

“A community station has to do more than to say it’s a community station. It has to prove it to listeners through action and initiative,” Batten said in a released statement. “Within a month of our coming in, we will have legitimate Barrow County daily news updates, a daily local high school sports show complete with interviews, recent scores and player information, and we will launch a meaningful morning show that speaks to area issues in a thoughtful and compelling way.”    

Batten also owns WCHM 96.7 and AM1490 in Habersham County, WJUL 97.5 and AM1230 in Towns County and WJRB 95.1 in Union County. 

“I bought all of the stations over the last five years from owners who struggled to make their stations relevant, so I know what the staff and I are about to undertake. I know it will take a lot of hard work. But my business belief has always been that ‘quality eventually wins.’ This transition will not fail because the staff and I didn’t care enough or because success didn’t come immediately,” Batten said. “Radio is still enormously important to small communities, and I’ve learned with my other stations that the key to succeeding in community radio anywhere is, if you love the community, the community will ultimately love you back.”    

The WIMO ownership transfer is expected to be finalized within 60 days.
Cameron Whitehead January 10, 2014 at 04:37 PM
Here is the problem. The prople of Barrow County do not support WIMO am1300. It was all local. Hendy Miller, David Willare and My self were in studio every morning ubt the listinership was so poor that the business in Barrow County would not advertise. So, we were all let go as a money saving try. It still did not work and Stephen Mitchell was having to work his rear end off. David Willard and Jon Graham started broadcasting High School sports because WIMO was not going to cover them and the schools are happy with it. So are the advertisers that they have. Jeff Batten is an idiot. I've told him that years ago and I can guarantee that nobody local is going to be involved. It will be some of his students
JDW January 13, 2014 at 09:24 AM
I worked at WIMO for a few years. WIMO was doing okay for a small town radio station until the economy tanked. We had some intown advertisors, and many local people who listened to us religiously. We did have a dedicated morning show, that people really enjoyed listening too. We had local programming all day long. When the radio station left downtown Winder to save money on Rent and to go back to the old location in Bethlehem is when things started falling apart. We still had local programming, and have had a evening music show for the last 15 years. When the economy really got bad, no one wanted to spend advertising dollars, and when a new station manager came in, it all became canned shows that could be heard elsewhere on a clearer station. Yes the new station manager did what he could, but steering away from local broadcasting, and having things on that has nothing to do with the community, did nothing to help this station. You have to be seen to be heard. Do I think Jeff Batten will turn it around, probably not. Unless he spends alot of money to up the signal. I do wish him luck and hope that WIMO that has been here for over 60 years will still remain. That station will always remain in my heart, and want nothing but the best for it.
Stephen Mitchell January 16, 2014 at 08:50 AM
As many of you know, AM 1300 WIMO will undergo some changes in the near future with ownership pending FCC approval. First off, it has been a wonderful experience to manage a local radio station and I truly am thankful to Country Road Productions for giving me the opportunity. When I took the reins from the former station manager, the station was financially struggling due to the lack of support from local business. I beat the streets daily and poured my heart into WIMO to keep it a community staple. Just like former staff, I was faced with rejection constantly, which deeply saddened me in my duties. I have been fortunate to travel around and speak at many venues. What I have discovered, with our country in general, is that people have become less community oriented and cling on to the national events. Let's be honest, how many people even know the name of their next door neighbors? I encourage you, as the community, to support the future owners in their endeavors and pray that not only will the Barrow community wake up to this blessing in their own backyard, but our nation will return to a more local community focus. If you want to make a difference, you start right in your own backyard. As for the programming, I spent the past two years encouraging local talent to come into WIMO and host their own show. I even went as far as offering the first few times at no cost to see if there was a future. Unfortunately, the takers were very few. Therefore, I sought to give a voice to broadcasters abroad who speak about the importance of local community. The majority of our syndicated programming could not be heard on any other local stations and when I asked what you wanted to hear on the syndication side of programming, I listened. Alex Jones, for example, has brought a wide variety of listeners to WIMO and our stats will back that up. I can honestly report that I logged only two complaints about our programming out of numerous interactions with our listeners. At the end of the day, it's all about monetary and community support. In conclusion, WIMO has been a community radio station for over 60 years and my hope is that it will continue to be just that for the next sixty years. Please support the future owners and their endeavors. Stephen Mitchell

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