If 94.7 cannot become a full-market Manhattan FM signal, what major commercial operator would possibly be interested in it? Huh
If it cannot fully compete with the other big NYC FM signals, then that fact should be reflected in the sale price. The reason a station like Pulse 87 could be profitable is that it didn't have a big mortgage, and whomever buys 94.7 will likely have a big mortgage.
WFME was put where it is and originally licensed to serve the Newark, NJ area, which would be a major market by itself if it were not sitting next to NYC with 8-million people. New Jersey now has almost 9-million people total, with, at least, 6-or-7-million living in North and Central Jersey within the good WFME signal from the current transmitter location. And depending on the format, that NJ area may have a population much more attractive to some advertisers than NYC itself.
Radio stations differentiate themselves by serving different age and interest groups and it is also possible for them to differentiate by geography. NJ-101.5 is the perfect example. It wastes its good signal in Pennsylvania to super serve the NJ audience, and it has been successful in doing that.
It is possible that a station could super serve the 6 or 7 million NJ residents that can hear WFME well. Wasting the signal over NYC. By providing NJ news and NJ centric programming, if that station could draw the same market share in North Jersey that NJ-101.5 does in Ocean-Monmouth or the Trenton market it could be successful financially, and still show respectable ratings in the NY Radio Market as a whole even though NYC listers would be no more inclined to listen than Philly folks are to listen to NJ-101.5.
Other Newark stations did fine in the past by primarily serving the NJ audience, but there is always the lure of all those additional potential listeners on the other side of the Hudson. WBGO, is the most recent Newark station to move its transmitter for that reason, but if the WFME transmitter cannot be moved (and I agree with Scott Fybush, that there is a real possibility that it can't) than there are other options for successful operation, provided the ultimate sale price reflects that probability.
Any wise bidders will certainly do their due diligence on the signal, its potential for moving to NYC, and its potential audience if it can't move. Their conclusions will be reflected in their bids. This is a more complicated situation than normal for that reason, and it will be interesting to see how it is worked out.