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“Central Ohio’s News Leader” sold for $535 million

Mark Elliott



In 1922, the Entrekin Electric Company was awarded the second Federal license for a radio station in Columbus Ohio.  They called it WCAH, and Mr. Entrekin built a studio in his living room so he could broadcast the piano stylings of his wife to the growing number of radio owners in Central Ohio.

The Wolfe family, owners of banks, shoe stores and the Columbus Dispatch, didn’t want to be left behind in this new medium called radio. They coughed up the cash to buy WCAH and changed the call letters to better represent their company—Wolfe Banks, News and Shoes—WBNS. (I’ve also heard it referred to as Wolfe Brothers News and Shoes, since there were two of them back in the beginnings of the Dispatch and the shoe store.) 

WBNS grew over the years adding an FM and a TV station. WBNS TV did a lot of local programming every day, including Lucy’s Toy Shop in the morning and Flippo the Clown every afternoon (my brothers and I always went on The Flippo Show to hand over our Muscular Dystrophy donations).  And it remained owned by the Wolfe family—a remarkable 90 plus years as a locally owned media entity—until today. After selling the Dispatch newspaper back in 2017, they are now selling the Dispatch Broadcast Group for a whopping $535 million.

Included in the sale, per 10TV:

  • WBNS-TV (Channel 10, “Central Ohio’s News Leader), founded in 1949 by the Wolfe family of Columbus.
  • WTHR-TV of Indianapolis (Channel 13), founded in 1957 by Crosley Broadcasting Corp. Purchased by The Dispatch Broadcast Group in 1975.
  • WBNS Radio (1460 AM and 97.1 FM). The original AM station, WCAH, was founded in 1922. The Wolfe family purchased it in 1927 and changed the call letters to WBNS. The modern-day FM station originated in 1957.
  • WALV-CD, a UHF and digital channel and a wholly-owned subsidiary of WTHR. Founded in 1988, WALV was converted in 2000 to a local weather service – the SkyTrak Weather Network and is now a MeTV affiliated station.

The new owner, TEGNA, a media company based in Tysons, VA  is telling radio station staffers that the sale will have no effect on local operations, including Ohio State. The original deal between WBNS, OSU and IMG Sports that paid the college $110 million (or more) annually expires this year. No worries—according to station sources 97.1 The Fan just signed a new deal to be the Official Buckeye Radio Station for the next 14 years.  

Current 10TV employees could not be reached for comment.

TEGNA also own stations in Cleveland and Toledo and claims to serve “two thirds of all television households in Ohio.” (Bet they run a LOT of Elk and Elk ads!) 

With FCC and other paperwork, the actual change of ownership won’t happen for a few months. But I’m sure Common Man and T-Bone (97.1 The Fan local afternoon sports and more talk show) will have something to say about it this today.

Columbus Native (Lincoln Village) I've spent my entire career in radio with stations across the South and Midwest. But I'm tired of moving around the country (my last employer wanted me in Albuquerque!) So I returned to CBus to be closer to friends and family and am freelancing now, including writing for (and about) 614. Reds, Bengals, Crew fan, and fan of whoever is playing the Cardinals and the Steelers.

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Publisher: We can do better, free speech isn’t easy

Wayne T. Lewis, Publisher



When we started (614) Magazine over a decade ago our focus was on telling stories that helped people enjoy and experience our growing city. It was a simple mission - to focus on all the positive additions that make life more enjoyable here. 

Along the way we’ve written about culture too. From documenting the rise of the local Somali population to the establishment of a proud LGBTQ community and most recently, documenting the contributions made by our immigrant neighbors. The magazine was awarded Best Monthly Magazine by the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists as a result of some of that coverage. It was our 3rd time receiving that honor.

That mission has not changed. (614) is focused on the positive and the good things that our community brings to the table.

In the past few years we’ve added a digital component ( that has added news-style coverage of events we deem “newsworthy” or interesting to our audience. Since we live in very interesting times to say the least, some of this coverage attracts slings and arrows from time to time. From all sides. Our misuse of “their” and “they’re” notwithstanding.

It’s part of the business and we accept that we won’t be perfect nor do we expect our entire audience - hundreds of thousands of you - to laud our every headline.

What we do and will continue to commit to is the principle that free speech and the free press are precious things. We won’t deny your ability to comment in our stories (as long as you keep it civil) as so many other media does, nor will we refuse to publish speech, commentary or interviews that some may find offensive. If the subject matter is relevant to Columbus or events transpiring here, we’ll provide a platform. That said, we’re fairly new to the “news” game and we acknowledge that we could do certain things better. 

This is never more evident than with the current uproar by some over our coverage of the “Proud Boys” episode. For some, including other members of local media, to imply that we are somehow “Nazi sympathizers” because we chose to publish the unedited words of people involved in the march is unfair to the honest, thoughtful people working here. That said, we could have done a few things better... 

Our quick-to-publish style that may suit a story about a new donut shop opening doesn’t serve us as well with serious or controversial topics. We plan to slow down and establish more editorial oversight by and between our content team. We could have added more critical context to the story and worked harder to get an additional point of view. We hear the critics and frankly, appreciate the fact that you care (well, most of you) to see us get it right.

I can assure you our agenda is not about clicks (we removed ads from this story after it became so controversial) nor taking sides in any political or cultural debate - no matter how righteous an opinion may be. It’s about respecting our audience and your ability to make up your own minds after reading the words and deeds of antagonist and protagonist alike. 

We think you’re all smart and capable enough.

Justice Louis Brandeis observed, “Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants.” While a commentary on government corruption at the time, it held that evil lurks and grows in the darkness and that a free society depends on the open-airing of all views, no matter how distasteful. This axiom was also long held as an operating principle within journalism. I still believe this to be true and the right thing to do. 

We choose to maintain, even cherish, our freedom to publish all relevant sides to the many debates that are sure to follow. You are likewise free to leave your opinion below these stories. We also welcome longer-form opinions, even ones critical of us, at [email protected]

We only ask that you keep it civil and remember that the people creating our content are doing their best to be fair and open-minded. Oh, and none of us are Nazi sympathizers so there’s that too.

Wayne T. Lewis

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Biz + Dev

Cooper Stadium development rounds first phase of approval




Update: The plan to redevelop the former Cooper Stadium site into a mixed-use development is one step closer to becoming a reality.  

The Southwest Area Commission voted seven to four in approval of the plan to turn the derelict park into a mixed-use concept to include office/retail space and apartments. The approved plan will now go before the Columbus City Council for final approval. 


08/22/2019: The Columbus Clippers played their final game in Cooper Stadium way back in 2008. Since then, the storied ballpark has fallen to disrepair, becoming a popular site for urban explorers and ruin porn enthusiasts.

Now, the owners of the Coop have announced another redevelopment plan, which would bring offices, apartments, mixed-use commercial space, and creative work spaces to the decaying plot.

The site plan, which was submitted to the city by Arshot Development Corp., outlines the construction of 500 apartments, along with possible space for restaurants.

The next phase of the proposed project will take place at an area commission hearing on the rezoning application for the site, which has been scheduled for 7 p.m. on Aug. 21. 614NOW will continue to follow this story as it develops.

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Columbus-Pittsburgh Corridor is only 47 miles away from completion




The Columbus-Pittsburgh Corridor Association (CPCA) took to Washington, D.C. recently, seeking federal funding to finish what has been started.

For those unacquainted, the CPCA is a 160-mile four-lane highway that would connect Columbus to Pittsburgh. The project intends to provide a freight commerce corridor while also boosting tourism and supporting growing businesses in the area.

The corridor starts at I-270/SR 161 on the northeast side of Columbus, follows SR 161/SR 16 through New Albany and Newark to Coshocton, continues on US 36 from Coshocton to Dennison, along US 250 to US 22 at Cadiz, and continues along US 22 to Pittsburgh, reports Columbus Dispatch.

Seventy percent of the project is complete, but funding is needed to conduct a study on the area in the remaining 30 percent in Muskingum County, Coshocton County, Tuscarawas County, and Harrison County. 

The CPCA will meet next on Aug. 27 at 10 a.m. on the campus of the Central Ohio Technical College in Coshocton.

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