CARLISLE — With the departure of Ben Barber from Nice 960 WHYL AM, there have been questions about the future of the station.
The station has been having financial troubles for more than a year now, according to United States Bankruptcy Court documents that show the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Aug. 13, 2012, under the name of Trustworthy Radio LLC. A motion to convert the case to Chapter 7 bankruptcy was granted on July 18, 2013, according to the documents. Court documents say WHYL has claimed that it owes its creditors at least $82,880.22.
Wayne Gracey, the attorney representing the station as well as general manager Bruce Collier, said Chapter 7 bankruptcy usually means that a business must close its doors and stop all operations. But in this case, WHYL remains on the air by the use of automation. Gracey said the trustee allowed the business to stay open to better find a buyer.
“(WHYL was) trying to reorganize and get out of some of their debt,” he said. “At the time, they were particularly being pursued by the IRS for back taxes. … (After Chapter 7 bankruptcy is filed) the trustee becomes in charge and kind of responsible if they continue to operate. So we had a meeting with the trustee and convinced him that the value of the radio station would go way down if they had to go dark, so he agreed to let them continue to operate while they pursued finding a buyer to buy the property.”
While Gracey said he has no knowledge of the station closing at this time, Barber said he understood that at the end of the business day on Wednesday, it would be closed down and taken off the air. However, as of 8 p.m., the station had yet to go silent. The station’s Facebook page was taken down after 6 p.m. on Wednesday.
“The radio station is apparently still on the air,” Barber said. “But I don’t think it’s going to stay on the air for long because it’s up for grabs ... the station is for sale through the bankruptcy court.”
Dennis Gerkin, Barber’s co-host, said to the best of his knowledge, the station has laid off its entire staff, temporarily. Barber and Gracey believed there were a few people still at the station.
“I am temporarily laid off, that’s the terminology,” Gerkin said. “But the idea was just for a short period of time, until things could be reworked, then we would
be called back. It was supposed to be short, but I don’t know, a week, or two weeks. I don’t know what the plans are specifically.”
Barber said WHYL owed rent, and as a result, WHYL was being foreclosed upon and was asked to leave the building by the close of the business day on Wednesday. He said the information was the last he heard about the situation before leaving the station on Tuesday after his final show.
“The hard part about it is that this radio station is a standard here in Carlisle,” Barber said. “It went on the air in 1948 and to see it run into the ground the way it has (been), at (Bruce Collier’s) hands, I don’t have a whole lot of nice things to say.”
Collier was not available for comment.