Local brothers new owners of The Mountain radio station | Business

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OLEAN – Local radio station The Mountain 106.3 WXMT-FM is now owned by Olean natives and brothers Ashley “Jon B” Midder and Robert Midder.

The FCC transfer was granted on October 15, and Midders-operated XMT Entertainment LLC has been busy running, reprogramming and upgrading WXMT since July.

“It has been and continues to be a lot of work, but I am pleased with the progress made on the programming side, growth and listener loyalty,” said Ashley Midder. “The client side is still in its infancy and needs to be strengthened urgently, but the clients we have are seeing great returns on their advertising investment.”

History was made in more ways than one by the acquisition of the station by the Midders.

First, WXMT becomes one of 1.6% of black-owned radio stations nationwide, not to mention one of four black-owned stations in New York and Pennsylvania, according to newgeneration.com. Additionally, Robert Midder, a retired US Army captain, became one of the few veterans to own a radio station.

Ashley Midder said the station’s acquisition from Twilight Broadcasting Inc. went smoothly. Owner Bob Lowe helped ensure the process went smoothly, Midder said, often helping with costs or other areas of the transition.

“Bob Lowe had a few offers to buy the station for a lot more money and direct cash transactions, turning them down,” he said. “On this day of greed and selfish business tactics, we are grateful and fortunate to receive these blessings and random acts of kindness presented by Bob.”

The Midders were raised on South Third Street by their parents Ashley Midder Sr. and Helen Marie Clemons. Their grandfather Christopher “Kitt” Biddle was a horse trainer who once owned The Block Barn in Cuba. Ashley Midder said he, his siblings, and their mother, Helen, all attended Olean High School.

Robert Midder attended Utica College, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering. Ashley Midder then attended SUNY Buffalo State College, St. Bonaventure University and University of California-Irvine, earning certification in business management and returned to Olean in 2015.

“In 2015, I attended the first of many Back II Olean events that my Uncle Charles and his wife, Vonnie Clemons, created and then hosted annually at Olean until the pandemic and his recent passing,” he said. he declares.

Midder said he researched and purchased a home to remodel in Olean and traveled between Phoenix, Olean and Fort Myers, Florida for some time due to lack of local job opportunities. He said it has not been an easy road across the region, often questioning his decision, but now there is an opportunity.

“This is our home,” he said. “While most people fled and left the area, we came back and invested in the community by choice in my case, long before we acquired WXMT.”

Midder said they had applied for every broadcasting job position and or searched for an ownership opportunity on the Olean market since 2016. After many failed attempts in both cases, he said they had had the chance to create their own opportunity with the purchase of WXMT.

Midder said he has experience at radio stations as far west as Arizona, south as Florida and even closer to home in Altoona, Pennsylvania. audio store for DJs and discos.

As black owners of the station, Midder said he achieved a goal “most people laugh at the idea, thinking it was fantasy”. He said there is more talk of inclusion supporting minority-owned businesses now, so this is an opportunity for businesses and institutions to support and embrace diversity by investing in The Mountain.

“We are invested in the community the station serves beyond WXMT’s ownership,” he said. “All the money stays in the community and will help us create a variety of events for the local community to bring planned events and a life of entertainment to the city that is so badly needed.”

For minority-owned entrepreneurs, Midder said the biggest problem is the lack of access to capital and other resources which, in general, are problematic for minority-owned businesses. He said they were lucky to have an untraditional financing deal to buy the station.

Otherwise it would not have been possible.

“There is no grant, seed, angel investor, seed capital, PPP money or anything like that,” he said. “It’s a self-funded family, like all my previous businesses.”

Midder said his brother was very enthusiastic as a CFO and engineer and was also committed to buying a house in the area.v

“His role today is somewhat limited due to out-of-state consultation obligations through the spring,” Ashley Midder said. “At the moment, I spend more than 70 hours a week on the operation and construction of the station.”

Midder said he received a welcome response from a steady stream of listeners who love the station. He said they hoped to create events and expand entertainment options in the community and give back to those who want to learn, entertainment and promotional activities.

“We’ve reinvented and expanded the station’s Classic Hits music format, adding local DJs, new branding, quality online streaming and there’s still a lot to be done,” he said. “It’s a constant work in progress.”

The Midders also run a 501©3 nonprofit organization, One World Voice Foundation Inc., helping to bridge the digital divide experienced by low-income families and individuals.

WXMT, The Mountain 106.3 is in the Olean Nielsen rating market and reaches Cattaraugus, Allegany, McKean and Potter counties.

*This version has been updated with a correction to the previous version printed in the Wednesday edition. The Times Herald regrets the error.

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