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WBIX is sold to Catholic broadcasting group

Station once owned by investor convicted of fraud will drop financial news format

By Johnny Diaz
Globe Staff / July 13, 2010

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Holy Family Communications, a nonprofit Catholic radio group in New York, said yesterday that it has agreed to buy Framingham-based radio station WBIX 1060 AM.

Holy Family Communications, which operates stations in Rochester and Buffalo, N.Y., will replace WBIX’s financial news and discussion format with Catholic-themed programming, according to a release. The new station is expected to be operational by Nov. 1.

“We are very excited about bringing Catholic radio to the Boston community,’’ Holy Family Communications president Jim Wright said in a release. He was unavailable late yesterday and the purchase price was not disclosed.

Alex Langer, the president of WBIX, was also unavailable late yesterday but said in a release he was “pleased to welcome Holy Family Communications’’ to Boston.

While there are Boston stations that carry Catholic-themed programming, at least one radio analyst, Donna Halper of Lesley University, believes that aren’t any 24-hour Catholic radio stations, which is a void Holy Family Communications is trying to fill.

Yesterday’s announcement is the latest format change for WBIX.

Four years ago, Langer, who launched WBIX in its business format in 1987, regained ownership of the station after it had been put into receivership following the fraud conviction of then-owner Bradford C. Bleidt, an investment adviser who was sentenced to 11 years in federal prison for money laundering and mail fraud. Bleidt admitted to bilking $32.6 million from more than 115 clients. Bleidt had bought WBIX from Langer in 2002.

When Langer regained the station, he expanded it and replaced syndicated programming with local shows on finance such as “Regan On The Record’’ and “The Financial Consultants.’’

“So many different formats have been tried on that station,’’ said Halper, a media professor at Lesley. “The station has had a checkered past.’’

Johnny Diaz can be reached at jodiaz@globe.com.