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DOWNTOWN TUNE FOR WOR RADIO

By STEVE CUOZZO

August 10, 2004

August 10, 2004 -- WOR Radio, the pioneer AM station which has broadcast out of Midtown's 1440 Broadway for 76 years, is moving to Lower Broadway near Wall Street a milestone in the station's history and a breakthrough relocation to downtown by a major media concern.

Yesterday, WOR's owner, Buckley Broadcasting, signed a 15-year lease for the entire third floor at 111 Broadway, the landmark 1905 structure at the corner of Cedar Street.

The 22,152 square foot-space the station's studios and offices will occupy when it moves next winter is modest in size but large in symbolism.

WOR will be the only commercial radio station based in Lower Manhattan. Downtown Alliance President Carl Weisbrod hailed it as "great news and further evidence that downtown's economy is diversifying. I hope it proves a pioneer for more media to come."

All-talk WOR (710 on the dial) boasts more than 9 million daily listeners.

Its talent lineup includes talkmeister Bob Grant, relationship expert Dr. Joy Brown, foodie Arthur Schwartz, consumer whiz Joan Hamburg, and, in syndication, Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly.

Landlord Richard Cohen was represented by CB Richard Ellis's Bradley Gerla with Adam Foster; WOR was repped by Tenantwise president M. Myers Mermel with Caroline McLain.

WOR, a pioneer in the talk-radio format, has been at 1440 Broadway since 1928.

Buckley Broadcasting President Richard Buckley cited several reasons for the move, including the fact that the new headquarters tower for the New York Times on Eighth Avenue will block the signal from the station's studio antenna at 1440 to its transmission tower in New Jersey.

But more important, he said, was that, "I've always been sort of intrigued with downtown after 9/11. I thought it would be an interesting move because downtown is blossoming into a tremendously vibrant area not just with the new World Trade Center, but with housing conversion and the new transit hub."

With WOR's lease due to expire in 2006, Buckley said, "We looked at four or five buildings down there and we liked 111 Broadway immediately."

CBRE's Gerla said, "Once they looked at our building, they saw that it offered an economic package as well as infrastructure that made a lot of sense for them."

Empire State Development Corp. chairman Charles Gargano said, "I've followed WOR since I was a kid they're an icon of New York." He said the station, with about 75 employees, is eligible for up to $3,500 per staffer under ESDC's federally-backed, small-firm attraction and retention program for Lower Manhattan.

Gerla wouldn't say what WOR was paying but said asking rents at 111 Broadway are $32 a square foot. By comparison, current asking rents at 1440 Broadway are around $40.

Mermel wouldn't talk specifics either, but said the station's "long history and excellent credit made them an attractive tenant worthy of substantial benefits" at 111 Broadway.

Copyright 2004 NYP Holdings, Inc.
 

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