Moody Bible Institute sells AM radio flagship WMBI after 95 years

WMBI transmitter site in Addison (1927 photo)

WMBI 1110-AM, radio flagship of Chicago’s Moody Bible Institute since 1926 and the oldest noncommercial Christian radio station in the country, has been sold, according to a Federal Communications Commission filing.

El Sembrador Ministries, a Spanish-language Catholic network based in Chatsworth, California, agreed to pay $1.6 million for the daytime-only AM station along with a construction permit for a translator at 106.3 FM.

Moody Radio Chicago

WMBI, which has been airing Spanish-language religious programming since 2012, is expected to switch to El Sembrador’s ESNE Radio format, according to Radio Insight.

It’s been two years since Moody announced it was selling its AM stations to focus on expansion of its FM network and digital platforms.

Greg Thornton, senior vice president of media for Moody Radio, said at the time the decision reflected “the limitations of AM broadcasting today, including the limitation on many AM stations to only broadcast in the daytime, as well as the dramatic rise in digital/online/mobile listening.”

In Chicago, Moody Radio continues to operate Christian ministry WMBI 90.1-FM along with numerous digital properties.

ESNE Radio has been airing here part-time on Newsweb Radio’s time-brokered WNDZ 750-AM.

Thursday’s comment of the day: Alan Solomon: Ed [Farmer] was good people — one of the funniest, most caring people around. And best wishes to longtime pal Darrin Jackson in this new partnership with Len Kasper; Sox fans are in for a treat.