New Orleans native Wendell Pierce, best known for roles in HBO's "The Wire" and "Treme," and several local businessmen confirmed Thursday that they are buying WBOK, Louisiana's only African American-focused talk radio station.
The current owners, New Orleans-born Danny Bakewell Sr. and his son Danny Jr., have been looking to sell the station to a local owner for some time. Their Bakewell Media Co., which has owned WBOK since 2006, confirmed in February they were in talks with the local consortium and were close to a sale.
Pierce is joining with Cleveland Spears, owner of a public relations company, business consultant Troy Henry and Jeff Thomas, owner of multimedia platform "Think504," to form Equity Media, which is expected to close the deal to buy WBOK in the next few months.
The details of the transaction were not disclosed, but Equity Media partners will provide the equity and Liberty Bank will finance the debt to complete the purchase, "making the new ownership team 100 percent black-owned and funded," Equity Media said in a statement.
"The opportunity to elevate the station by ensuring that it provides a well-rounded view of major issues that affect the day-to-day lives of African Americans is something that we all feel immensely passionate about," the new owners said.
The new owners will make "a full assessment of the organization, programming and brand identity, with plans for a relaunch of the station in mid-summer," the statement added.
WBOK -- AM 1230 -- and its legacy stations have been through many formats, but it has been a prominent media outlet for black political and cultural talk since the end of the 1970s.
Last year, local energy utility Entergy cut its funding to WBOK, which WBOK's general manager said was due to the station's decision to provide a platform for criticism of the company's proposed New Orleans East power plant.
Prominent voices include Oliver Thomas, whose "The Good Morning Show" has the 7-10 a.m. slot, and Kyndra Joi, who anchors a lunchtime show.