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Nationwide Communications Inc. was a media subsidiary of the Nationwide Insurance Company, which operated from 1946 until 1997. Based in Columbus, Ohio, Nationwide Communications owned and operated a variety of radio and television stations across the United States until it sold off all its radio stations to Cincinnati-based Jacor for a reported $620 million, and its television stations to Young Broadcasting. The service division was spun off and became Nationwide Communications Services L.L.C. in 1998.
In 1946, the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation first got into broadcasting through a radio service for farmers on WRFD, Columbus, Ohio, an AM radio station. The Ohio Farm Bureau was dedicated to serving farmers in Ohio, but as its other pursuits (chiefly the Farm Bureau Mutual Automobile Insurance Company) were increasingly made available to non-farmers, the Farm Bureau spun off these ventures into a separate corporation. WRFD continued to serve farmers, and indeed, still carries farm programming today under the ownership of Salem Media of Ohio. However, other Farm Bureau stations—most notably WRFD-FM, now known as WNCI—were transferred to this umbrella corporation, known today as the Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company & Affiliated Companies. The group of stations became known as Nationwide Communications, after its parent company.
Nationwide Communications owned four television stations, though none in its home market of Columbus, or Ohio. Its first purchase in 1965 was WATE-TV, Channel 6, Knoxville, Tennessee. The company's second purchase was WXEX-TV (now WRIC-TV), Channel 8, Petersburg, Virginia in 1968, its third station was WBAY-TV, Channel 2, Green Bay, Wisconsin, purchased in 1974, and its fourth station purchase was KITN (now WFTC), Channel 29, in Minneapolis in 1985. Three of the four stations were ABC affiliates (WXEX-TV switched from NBC to ABC in 1965, WATE-TV switched from NBC to ABC in 1979, and WBAY-TV switched from CBS to ABC in 1992); the fourth (KITN/WFTC) was an independent and later a Fox affiliate while under Nationwide's stewardship. Nationwide Communications sold all three of its ABC-affiliated television stations in 1993 to Young Broadcasting, a subsidiary of Adam Young, Incorporated, a TV station advertising representation firm; WFTC was sold to Clear Channel Communications the next year. In November 2013, Young merged with Media General, and WATE, WRIC and WBAY are now under that company's ownership.
Before ceasing operations, Nationwide Communications was the 16th largest radio group in the United States and operated 19 stations in 9 different markets. At the time the company ceased operations, Nationwide Communications owned KEGL and KDMX in Dallas, Texas, KHMX and KTBZ-FM in Houston, Texas, KMJZ and KSGS in Minneapolis, Minnesota, KGLQ and KZZP in Phoenix, Arizona, KISW in Seattle, Washington, KRQQ in Tucson, Arizona, KMCG and KXGL in San Diego, California, WPOC in Baltimore, Maryland, WMMS, WGAR-FM, and WMJI in Cleveland, Ohio, and WFII, WCOL, and WNCI in Columbus, Ohio, plus KLUC, and KXNO in Las Vegas, Nevada.