WELE owner promises refunds

Daytona Beach News-Journal (FL) - Wednesday, November 5, 2008

An Ormond Beach radio station office - closed last week because of financial issues - re-opened Monday. 

Doug Wilhite, owner of WELE-AM 1380, said he intends to make good on all the outstanding vacation certificates that were bought through his now-shuttered radio program, the Premier Travel Show. Police had received numerous complaints last week that the station's listeners couldn't redeem deals they had made through the program.

Last week, callers to the radio's office got a recording of Wilhite saying he had no money to pay staffers to run the office or refund listeners who found their travel certificates wouldn't take them anywhere. 

"We just closed for a couple of days to regroup," he said. "As our income goes back up, we're going to continue to refund the money." Wilhite said he will start another shopping show on the station, but this one probably won't include travel. 

Tuesday, he was on the air bemoaning his financial woes in between sales for local dining and entertainment. Wilhite said he's been buoyed by support from some unexpected quarters. All 55 members of the Ormond Beach Symphony have said they will play for free at a concert for which the proceeds will go to help his ailing station. 

Mary Rhoads of Palm Coast, who had been unable to take a trip that she paid $561 for, said she is pleased that she was able to get a refund from her credit card company. She had reported the problem to police. 

"They (workers at the credit card company) were marvelous," she said, explaining how she was able to find the department at her credit card company to help her. 

The station will not be taking credit cards for its current offers, listeners said they heard Wilhite say. He couldn't be reached for comment on this. 

Customers who went to the station Tuesday to see what they could get for certificates that had taken them nowhere were shown a book of possibilities that another travel agency would be booking for them. But reserving the trip would require an additional fee. Cash refunds were not being offered. 

Copyright, 2008, The News-Journal Corporation

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