We believe that we are the largest commercial U.S. radio broadcasting company, measured by number of stations and audience coverage, providing programming targeted at audiences interested in Christian and family-themed radio programming. Our core business is the ownership and operation of radio stations in large metropolitan markets. Upon completion of all announced transactions, we will own a national portfolio of 93 radio stations in 37 markets, including 59 stations in 23 of the top 25 markets, which consists of 27 FM stations and 66 AM stations. We are one of only four commercial radio broadcasters with radio stations in all of the top 10 markets. We are the seventh largest operator measured by number of stations overall and the third largest operator measured by number of stations in the top 25 markets.
Our radio business is focused on the clustering of strategic formats, mainly Christian Teaching and Talk, Contemporary Christian Music and conservative News Talk. In late 2007, we introduced a fourth strategic format, Spanish language Christian Teaching and Talk. We also own and operate Salem Radio Network® (“SRN”), a national radio network that syndicates music, news and talk to approximately 2,000 affiliated radio stations, in addition to our owned and operated stations. Salem Radio Representatives® (“SRR”) is a national radio advertising sales firm with offices in 12 U.S. cities.
In addition to our radio broadcast business, we also own and operate a non-broadcast media division. This division consists of Salem Web Network™ (“SWN”), a provider of online Christian content and streaming, Salem Publishing™, a publisher of Christian magazines and Xulon Press, a provider of print-on-demand publishing services targeting the Christian audience. SWN’s content, both in text and audio, can be accessed through our national portals which include OnePlace.com, Crosswalk.com, Christianity.com and Townhall.com®. SWN’s content can also be accessed through our local radio station websites, which provide content of interest to local listeners.
Our principal business strategy is to improve our national radio platform and to invest in and build non-broadcast businesses as the breadth of the media marketplace also expands to deliver compelling content to audiences interested in Christian and family-themed programming and conservative news talk. Our national presence in broadcasting, Internet and publishing gives advertisers a platform that is a unique and powerful way to reach Christian audiences. We program 40 of our stations with our Christian Teaching and Talk format, which is talk programming with Christian and family themes. A key programming strategy on our Christian Teaching and Talk radio stations is to sell blocks of time to a variety of religious and charitable organizations that create compelling radio programs. We also program 24 News Talk stations, 11 Contemporary Christian Music stations, and seven Spanish-language Christian Teaching and Talk stations. SRN supports our strategy by allowing us to reach listeners in markets where we do not own or operate stations. Additionally, we operate numerous Internet websites and publish periodicals and books that target similar audiences in order to provide cross-platform synergies. We are fundamentally committed to broadcasting, Internet and publishing formats and programming emphasizing Christian, conservative news talk and family themes. We may choose not to switch to other formats or pursue potentially more profitable business opportunities in response to changing audience preferences.
We strive to build clusters of radio stations in each of our markets with each format targeting different demographic segments of the audience interested in Christian and family-themed programming. There are several potential benefits that result from operating multiple radio stations in the same market. First, this clustering and programming strategy allows us to achieve greater penetration into each segment of our target market, and collectively our stations afford our clients a larger percentage of advertising time in that market. We then are able to offer advertisers multiple audiences and to bundle the radio stations for advertising sales purposes when advantageous. Second, we realize cost and operating efficiencies by consolidating sales, technical and administrative support and promotional functions where possible. Finally, the purchase of additional radio stations in an existing market allows us to leverage our market expertise to better serve our advertisers and our listeners through traditional and emerging media.
Both our chief executive officer and our chairman are career radio broadcasters who have owned and operated radio stations for more than 40 years.
On March 28, 2008, we sold radio station KTEK-AM in Houston, Texas for $7.8 million, including $4.5 million in cash, and $3.3 million in notes receivables. The notes included a $1.8 million 90 day promissory note due June 24, 2008 with interest at 8% per annum and a $1.5 million seven year promissory note bearing interest at 8% per annum, with monthly installments due beginning in May 2008. The sale resulted in a pre-tax gain of $6.1 million. The operating results of KTEK-AM were excluded from the Consolidated Statement of Operations beginning on February 1, 2008, the date we stopped operating the station pursuant to a Time Brokerage Agreement with the buyer.
On March 28, 2008, we sold radio station WRRD-AM in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for $3.8 million resulting in a pre-tax gain of $2.0 million which is reported as a component of discontinued operations. The accompanying Consolidated Balance Sheets and Consolidated Statements of Operations for the twelve months ended December 31, 2008 reflect WRRD-AM as a discontinued operation. All prior periods have been revised to reflect the operating results of the station as a discontinued operation to conform to the current period presentation.
As of the March 2008 issue, we ceased publication of CCM Magazine. The decision to cease publication did not affect Salem Publishing's other magazines, Preaching Magazine, Youthworker Journal, Homecoming Magazine, The Singing News Magazine, Faith Talk Magazine and Townhall Magazine. The accompanying Consolidated Statements of Operations reflect the operating results of this entity as a discontinued operation for the twelve months ended December 31, 2008. All prior periods have been revised to reflect the operating results of this entity as a discontinued operation to conform to the current period presentation.
On April 8, 2008, we acquired land in Seattle, Washington, Denver, Colorado and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from entities controlled by our Chairman and by our Chief Executive Officer (“Principal Shareholders”) for approximately $5.0 million. This transaction was approved the independent members of our Board of Directors and was based on the appraised value from a third-party valuation firm. As a result of this transaction, we will reduce rental expense by approximately $148,000 annually and have permanently secured these AM transmitter site locations. We also assumed two income-producing lease agreements as follows: (a) a diplex agreement at the Seattle-Tacoma, Washington site generating annual rental income which is currently $139,000 approximately and (b) a mobile telephone lease at the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania site generating annual rental income which is currently $26,000. In addition, we entered into new transmitter site leases for eight (8) existing transmitter sites (the “New Transmitter Site Leases”) operated by the company and leased from the Principal Stockholders. Seven (7) of these New Transmitter Site Leases replace existing transmitter site leases between the Company and the Principal Shareholder which were either scheduled to expire or had option exercise deadlines in 2009 or 2010. As a result, we are not required to renegotiate a new lease or exercise an option on any of its related party leases until 2016.
On April 11, 2008 we completed the purchase of selected assets of WMCU-AM in Miami, Florida, for $12.3 million. We began operating the station under a local marketing agreement (“LMA”) effective on October 18, 2007. The accompanying Consolidated Statements of Operations includes the operating results of this station as of the LMA date.
On May 30, 2008, we sold radio station WFZH-FM in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for $8.1 million resulting in a pre-tax gain of $1.4 million which is reported as a component of discontinued operations. The accompanying Consolidated Balance Sheets and Consolidated Statements of Operations for the twelve months ended December 31, 2008 reflect WFZH-FM as a discontinued operation. All prior periods have been revised to reflect the operating results of the station as a discontinued operation to conform to the current period presentation.
On June 30, 2008, we completed a reorganization of certain legal entities. Under this reorganization, all operating assets of the Company other than CCM Communications, Inc. are now owned by Salem Communications Holding Corporation (“Salem Holding”). The operating assets of CCM Communications, Inc. remain owned by Salem Holding. The reorganization did not impact the Consolidated Balance Sheets or Consolidated Statements of Operations; however the consolidating financial statements presented in Note 13 reflect the revised structure.
In September 2008, an agreement dated February 22, 2008 to sell radio station KKMO-AM in Seattle, Washington for approximately $3.7 million was terminated. The buyer of the station did not meet the terms of the asset purchase agreement. As a result of the buyer terminating the agreement, we recognized income of $0.2 million reported as other income in the Consolidated Statement of Operations.
On July 18, 2008, we paid a refundable deposit of $2.7 million for the full purchase price of selected assets of WAMD-AM in Baltimore, Maryland. The station is not currently being operated. The transaction has been approved by the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2009.
On February 1, 2007, we entered into an agreement to purchase selected assets of radio station KTRO-AM, in Portland, Oregon subject to certain conditions, for $4.5 million. We began operating the station under an LMA effective the same date. The accompanying Consolidated Statement of Operations includes the operating results of this radio station as of the LMA date. On October 29, 2008, we notified the owner in accordance with the agreement that it would discontinue operating the station under the LMA and would not acquire the station. As a result of terminating this agreement, we recorded a terminated transaction charge of $0.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2008.
On December 2, 2008, we sold radio station WRVI-FM in Louisville, Kentucky for $3.0 million resulting in a pre-tax gain of $1.1 million. The operating results of WRVI-FM are excluded from the Consolidated Statement of Operations as of the date of the sale.
On December 12, 2008, we formed Salem Investment Corporation (“SIC”), a wholly-owned unrestricted subsidiary of Salem Communications Corporation. SIC issued a promissory note to Salem Communications Holding Corporation (“Salem Holding”) in the amount of $4.75 million. On December 18, 2008 SIC purchased $9.4 million of Salem Holding’s 7 ¾% Notes (“Notes”) at a 50% discount from a group of Note holders. Salem Holding agreed to cancel the outstanding Promissory Note in exchange for the cancellation by SIC of the Notes. On a consolidated basis, the transaction resulted in a $4.7 million pre-tax gain on the early retirement of debt.
Upon the close of all announced transactions, the company will own and/or operate a national portfolio of 93 radio stations in 37 markets, consisting of 27 FM stations and 66 AM stations.