Published DateLACONIA — Bill Binnie of Binnie Media, who has reached agreement with the city to acquire the abandoned police station on Church Street, spoke before the City Council last night about the role the building would play in the television and radio network he's assembling.
Binnie said that the city has agreed to sell the building for $1 on the understanding that he will invest between $300,000 and $400,000 in its renovation together with another $500,000 to $750,000 in equipping it as a television and radio studio. Ultimately he expects a payroll of 25 full-time and part-time employees based in Laconia.
Last year, Binnie purchased 17 stations formerly owned and operated by the bankrupt Nassau Broadcasting of Princeton New Jersey, including WLNH, WEMJ and WJJY with studios in Gilford. He said that "we realized we were going to blow up Gilford, not literally," explaining that WJJY was a Concord station and would be returned to the capital city, where he recently bought the surplus Walker Street School. WLNH, which he called one of the country's most venerable stations, belonged in Laconia, where it originated, along with WEMJ. Both will operate from Church Street.
WBIN-TV, the flagship of Binnie's company, will ultimately operate a news bureau from Laconia. "This will be a major media center in downtown Laconia," Binnie said. "By 2015 we'll be interviewing presidential candidates. It is only appropriate that it happens here."
Binnie stressed that his company would maintain strong connections to the local community, referring specifically the WLNH's relationship with the annual Children's Auction. Nurturing local relationships, reinvesting in the communities and providing good jobs, he said is "really what we're about."
City manager Scott Myers said the city has reached agreement with Binnie on the terms and conditions for transferring the property and anticipates the transaction will close in the near future.