BERKELEY -- A proposed sale of two radio stations most likely will leave the California Historical Radio Society looking for a new home for itself and for the Bay Area Radio Museum and Radio Hall of Fame.
Stations KVTO-AM in Berkeley and KVVN-AM in Santa Clara are to be sold by YMF Media Inc. to Pham Radio Communication LLC pending Federal Communications Commission approval of the deal. An application to transfer the licenses was filed June 6.
Included in the deal are the historic KRE studios near Aquatic Park in Berkeley, which the California Historical Radio Society (CHRS) uses as the Bay Area Radio Museum. KVTO is the successor to KRE, which was the first 24-hour station in Northern California.
CHRS President Steve Kushman said that his organization had its first meeting with representatives of Pham Radio Communication last week.
"After a cordial meeting between CHRS and PRC, indications still remain that CHRS is secure at KRE for the near future," Kushman said. "Another meeting will be held between July 10-20."
Earlier, Kushman said, "Nobody's kicking us out of there. We're not going to have to suddenly move thousands of books and thousands of radios."
CHRS had been using the studios on a rent-free license granted by the station's previous owners in exchange for restoring the building. The property was dilapidated and covered with graffiti when the society took it over.
However, Inner City Broadcasting Corp. went bankrupt and its assets, including the building, were sold off. CHRS had been attempting to raise donations and pledges to purchase the building itself but came up short.
Kushman said his group's current license to the property expires in September.
On the group's website, a statement from the group's board said, "Early indications are that the successful bidder is not inclined to sell the building to CHRS at this time."
The new owner is a corporation recently created in California by San Francisco resident Phuong Pham. The two stations along with the property and other assets are to be purchased for $6 million.
Kushman said that although the proposed sale appears to end the group's hopes to permanently occupy the KRE studios, it doesn't change the overall goal, which is to find a permanent home somewhere.
"A museum has to have a permanent place," he said. "We're looking for a building of 8,000 square feet or more. I'm sure there are properties out there."
Kushman said CHRS has raised $700,000 in pledges and donations.
Meantime, the group will celebrate what perhaps will be its final Radio Day by the Bay at KRE, at the foot of Ashby Avenue, on July 20. The annual fundraiser celebrates radio in myriad ways from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Cost is $5, and proceeds go to CHRS, the Hall of Fame and the Society of Wireless Pioneers.
Stan Bunger of KCBS is scheduled to emcee the event. Peter Finch, Cheryl Jennings, Ben Fong-Torres and Terry McGovern also will be part of the program.
An auction of vintage radios, test equipment and amateur gear will be held. Also on tap: a performance of a 1948 Lone Ranger radio play.
In addition, a celebration of the movie "American Graffiti," including classic cars from the film, will be part of the event. (The KRE building was used for scenes in the classic 1973 George Lucas film.) And the 2013 inductees for the Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame will be announced.
"The important thing now for our organization is to have a really good event on July 20," Kushman said. "It's our biggest event of the year, and we just invite everybody to come and enjoy a whole day of fun devoted to radio."