Big Dollars In LaBelle Religious Broadcasting - WBIY
LABELLE, FLORIDA -- A trio of Miami residents have bought LaBelle's tiny 3,000 watt FM radio station and is broadcasting Spanish religious music. For nearly a million dollars investment, the new owners can expect probably several hundred listeners at any one time because of the station's low power, religious format, and rural transmitter location. The huge purchase price would be the equivalent of paying each of 200 listeners $45,000.
Former owner Art Ramos, president of Airwaves for Jesus, Inc. had been simulcasting his Fort Myers religious radio format to LaBelle's transmitter located in an orange grove just west of LaBelle a few yards south of State Road 80. Ramos had purchased both stations several years ago from Toccoa Falls College, a private religious school in Georgia for $3,000,000. Toccoa Falls had a chain of radio stations using them to recruit students to their college as well as to spread the Gospel message. The college sold the station after a complicated deal years earlier to establish a radio station in LaBelle besides the then existing commercial country music station WWWD. Once the religious station was on the air, WWWD in LaBelle was able to be sold to a chain of Fort Myers broadcasting stations for $6,000,000 and moved to Ft. Myers where it now broadcasts rock music. The FCC would not approve moving a rural station to a larger city if it left the smaller city with no local station at all, hence LaBelle's only radio station is and will most likely be a small religious broadcasting station for some time to come.
New operator of the $900,000 station buy is Oscar Aguero as president of Oscar Aguero Ministry, Inc. in Hialeah, a suburb of Miami. Aguero is joined by ministry directors, wife Stella Aguero and Javier Rodriguez of Hialeah. Pastor Aguero has been active in Miami Spanish ministry for over 20 years and also has a Miami television broadcast "Ondas De Amor" on Channel 43, also broadcast on the internet. Born in Argentina he came to the U.S. in 1978.
On his web page he says he has 14 churches in South Florida, 3 in Nicaragua, 2 in Venezuela, and 2 in Argentina. As donations are apparently very healthy to his ministry, he also has what are called FM radio translators in various South Florida locations including Naples, rebroadcasting the same religious music at low power to local communities. He also broadcasts in Gloucester, Ma. and had filed to build a station in Vero Beach, Fl.