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"The way the City of Dallas has handled this thing, it isn't logical," says Paul Leonard Jr., managing director of Star Media Group, a Dallas media broker. "It's either emotional or political, but it sure isn't logical." Leonard says he was interested at one time in brokering a deal between the city and a buyer for WRR. But as the process has dragged on, whirling into some kind of untenable waiting game, he's decided to sit out the next round of WRR debates.

The station may well be worth $30 million, he says, but that's an accident of the radio market that has little to do with the city's management of WRR. The city might be wise to take its profits before the market changes and WRR is once again an obscure little station muddling along beneath the Fair Park Ferris wheel.

"The station has steadily increased in value, and it has nothing to do with the performance of the station or anyone at the city. It's all about deregulation and market forces," Leonard says. "What the city has right now is very attractive beach-front property. But if they don't find a decent partner soon, it's just going to erode away.

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Holly Mullen