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Chapelboro and WCHL to move to offices on East Franklin Street

Chapelboro and WHCL will move to their new Franklin Street location on Nov. 20.

Chapel Hill Media Group, which includes 97.9 The Hill WCHL and, is moving from its University Place office to 1525 E. Franklin St., which formerly housed the offices of Franklin Street Realty.

General Manager Aubrey Williams said, with renovations and long-term plans changing for University Place, Chapel Hill Media Group also started to consider its long-term goals. The company ultimately decided it would be better to own their space rather than rent it.

“That would afford us a lot of stability and control over the space to do things that we'd like to do and knowing that it's an investment in the long term sustainability of the company,” Williams said.

Brighton McConnell, the Chapel Hill Media Group news director, also said it is a major opportunity for the company to no longer worry about rent.

“You don't get the opportunity in Chapel Hill to own your space very often,” McConnell said.

Williams said she had been talking with Sammy Martin, the owner of Franklin Street Realty, about finding a new space in Chapel Hill. 

Initially, Williams said Martin helped her with finding a few different options to house the company. One day while they were talking, Williams said Martin offered his space to the Chapel Hill Media Group.

Martin said that since the pandemic, some Franklin Street Realty employees had begun to work more remotely and that the company needed a smaller space anyway.

Martin said Franklin Street Realty decided to move to the former Allstate offices while Chapel Hill Media Group moved into their space. He said the process finalizing the decision with Chapel Hill Media Group only took about three days. 

“They had to move about a half a mile, and we had to move 30 feet — it doesn't really get much easier for any type of business to be able to do that,” Martin said.

When the radio station left East Franklin Street 26 years ago, Franklin Street Realty moved into that space. Williams said it was fitting that now the radio station would be moving into Franklin Street Realty’s offices.

“That's really kind of a cool unfolding of events,” she said. 

Williams said the new space will have about 1,000 square feet more than Chapel Hill Media Group’s current location. 

Aaron Keck, a radio host on 97.9 The Hill, said the space at University Place is maxed out when guests are in the studio. 

“We've done a good job cramming that space full of musicians, but it gets tight when you've got an entire band in there,” Keck said. 

He said the new space will allow for more flexibility when guests come on the show. 

Additionally, Williams said she was excited for other aspects of the new space, such as natural lighting, proximity to Franklin Street restaurants and easy and free parking.

McConnell said Chapel Hill Media Group is excited  the company’s new location will still be surrounded by small businesses. 

The company plans to move on Monday, Nov. 20. Williams said the station will continue to broadcast on Monday, though it will not contain their normal programming and live shows.

@DTHCityState |

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