Alexander W. Sheftell, who bought WAVA-FM four years ago for approximately $2 million, has sold the radio station to Doubleday Broadcasting for $8 million -- a record price for an individual radio property in the Washington area.
Sheftell, a former executive of The Washington Star broadcasting properties, and Gary Stevens, president of the broadcasting subsidiary of book publishers Doubleday & Co. Inc., are expected to sign the sales agreement today in New York. The agreement is subject to approval by the Federal Communications Commission.
Sheftell bought the former all-news station in 1977 from Arthur W. Arundel and transformed it into a popular album rock station, among the top 10 stations in the Washington area. At the same time Arundel sold WAVA-AM to American Bible Radio, which changed the now-unrelated AM station's call letters to WABS.
"We had a meteoric rise in Washington," said Sheftell, who said WAVA-FM is the No. 1 album rock station in the area. Album rock stations play a somewhat wider range of music than top 40 radio stations. One of the station's attractions is disc jockey Cerph, who built a following during his years at WHFS-FM.
Doubleday Broadcasting operates seven radio stations, including stations in Detroit, St. Louis, Minneapolis-St. Paul and Denver.