Lawmaker Hill’s partnership buying Va. radio station

Published 12:04 pm Wednesday, January 31, 2024

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By Buzz Trexler
Star Correspondent

A Tennessee lawmaker and his brother, a former longtime state representative, are part of a newly formed corporation that is in the process of buying an Abingdon, Va., radio station.

On Oct. 16, 2023, Information Communications Corp., a for-profit corporation, agreed to the sale of WABN, 1230 AM, and its related FM translator station broadcasting at 104.1 FM to Broadcast Partners LLC for $75,000. The sale is pending FCC approval.

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Broadcast Partners LLC was formed on Sept. 26, 2023, by state Rep. Timothy A. Hill (R-Dist. 3), who serves Johnson, and part of Carter, Hawkins and Sullivan counties; his brother, Matthew Joseph Hill, who served in the state House for 16 years (2005-2021) representing District 7, which includes Jonesborough and part of Washington County; and Lydia G. Martinez, of Blountville. FCC documents show the Hill brothers each hold 33 percent of the corporation, while Martinez holds 34 percent.

Timothy Hill said he and his brother “grew up in radio” and he is excited about becoming part owner of a radio station. Hill’s father, Kenneth C. Hill, is involved in the ownership of more than 20 radio stations, a mixture of nonprofit and for-profit primary stations and related FM transmitter stations. The elder Hill is currently in the process of buying WBEJ in Elizabethton and its related FM translator station.

“I’ve done some on-air work for the group of radio stations that my father is involved in, and my brother is the director of operations for that same group as well,” Hill said, referring to Appalachian Radio Group, which according to its website includes WABN, WETB, WHCB, WPWT, and related FM translator stations.

When asked about any format change at WABN, Hill said, “I think we’re going to have a desire after everything gets settled to try to encourage a little bit more localized format, you know, and that’s part of what I’m excited about.

“Radio can be a tremendous tool to boost the community, and Abingdon is a vibrant community,” Hill said. “And so hopefully WABN will be able to be used as a tool to support the community.”

Hill served District 3 in the state House from 2013 to 2020 when he unsuccessfully sought to fill the 1st District seat of U.S. Rep. Phil Roe. Hill was succeeded by Scotty Campbell, who resigned in April 2023. The Johnson County Commission appointed Hill to fill Campbell’s seat until a special election in August, which Hill won.