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Facility Purchase Signals New Era For WHQR

By Cece Nunn, posted Aug 27, 2014
At the purchase closing for WHQR's facilities: (Seated) David Zumbro, chairman; and MK Cope, board member (Standing, from left) Jeff Hovis, broker; Cleve Callison, station manager; and Barbara Bush, business manager (Photo courtesy of WHQR)
After renting space for three decades, WHQR Public Radio is looking to the future with more certainty these days.

WHQR’s purchase of the third floor of the Warwick Building at 254 N. Front St., which currently houses the station’s office and broadcast facilities, from Hexagon Holdings Inc. was completed Aug. 22.

“WHQR is now in a position to control our own destiny,” said station manager Cleve Callison.

The price for the third floor was $600,000, with some of that offset by concessions for work that had to be done, said Intracoastal Realty broker Jeff Hovis, who represented WHQR in the transaction.

The station, licensed by Friends of Public Radio Inc., has already installed new equipment and completed some technical repairs in the more than 6,900-square-foot space.

“We are gearing up to launch our second station, and we haven’t yet named an exact date for that, but it will be here fairly soon,” Callison said, explaining one of the reasons the station wanted to make a decision about whether to continue leasing or try to buy.

While one of the stations will offer news and information, the other will be devoted to classical music, he said.

WHQR was founded in 1984 with studios and offices in a strip mall on Greenfield Street. It has been located on the third floor of the Warwick Building since 1994.

“Just three short years ago, the Board of Directors put in place a strategic plan for the future of the station,” David Zumbro, chairman of the Friends of Public Radio Board, said in a news release. “We are meeting our goals thanks to our enthusiastic members and donors, generous corporate sponsors, loyal volunteers, dedicated staff and senior leadership, and a determined Board.”

In addition to saving money by staying in its current location because of the specific infrastructure needs of a radio station, WHQR also wanted to continue to be part of the downtown Wilmington community, Callison said.

Hovis said, “We were happy that we were able to work something out. It gives them longevity, and downtown is happy that they’re staying.”

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