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Emmis acquiring two New York radio stations for $131 million

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Emmis Communications Corp., after years of cutting debt, is going on the offensive, agreeing to purchase the No. 2 radio station in New York and its sister station for $131 million in cash.

The Indianapolis-based media company on Tuesday night announced the deal to acquire the stations from YMF Media.

Emmis already operates WQHT Hot 97 in New York. The purchase adds adult contemporary WBLS–FM 107.5, New York’s No. 2 station, along with WLIB-AM 1190, which has an urban gospel format.

Emmis said the deal would double the company’s annual station operating income.

"Today's announcement is indicative of our belief in the U.S. radio industry and our desire to increase our footprint in the nation's largest market," Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan said in a statement.
 
The purchase price will be paid in two installments. The first payment of about $55 million will occur after the Federal Communications Commission consents to assignment of the stations' licenses, expected in the summer of 2014. The second payment, about $76 million, will occur in February 2015.

In 2013, WBLS and WLIB reported about $15.4 million in operating income. Emmis expects to realize about $3 million of annual expense savings by combining those stations with HOT 97.

The WBLS/WLIB operations and studios have been co-located with HOT 97 since 2012, and more than 40 percent of their employees are Emmis alumni.

Deon Levingston, CEO of YMF Media and general manager of WBLS/WLIB, will become GM of Emmis' New York cluster. Levingston previously worked for Emmis in various management roles.

Emmis owns 18 FM and 3 AM radio stations in New York, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Austin, Indianapolis and Terre Haute.
 

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  1. Cramer agrees...says don't buy it and sell it if you own it! Their "pay to play" cost is this issue. As long as they charge customers, they never will attain the critical mass needed to be a successful on company...Jim Cramer quote.

  2. My responses to some of the comments would include the following: 1. Our offer which included the forgiveness of debt (this is an immediate forgiveness and is not "spread over many years")represents debt that due to a reduction of interest rates in the economy arguably represents consideration together with the cash component of our offer that exceeds the $2.1 million apparently offered by another party. 2. The previous $2.1 million cash offer that was turned down by the CRC would have netted the CRC substantially less than $2.1 million. As a result even in hindsight the CRC was wise in turning down that offer. 3. With regard to "concerned Carmelite's" discussion of the previous financing Pedcor gave up $16.5 million in City debt in addition to the conveyance of the garage (appraised at $13 million)in exchange for the $22.5 million cash and debt obligations. The local media never discussed the $16.5 million in debt that we gave up which would show that we gave $29.5 million in value for the $23.5 million. 4.Pedcor would have been much happier if Brian was still operating his Deli and only made this offer as we believe that we can redevelop the building into something that will be better for the City and City Center where both Pedcor the citizens of Carmel have a large investment. Bruce Cordingley, President, Pedcor

  3. I've been looking for news on Corner Bakery, too, but there doesn't seem to be any info out there. I prefer them over Panera and Paradise so can't wait to see where they'll be!

  4. WGN actually is two channels: 1. WGN Chicago, seen only in Chicago (and parts of Canada) - this station is one of the flagship CW affiliates. 2. WGN America - a nationwide cable channel that doesn't carry any CW programming, and doesn't have local affiliates. (In addition, as WGN is owned by Tribune, just like WTTV, WTTK, and WXIN, I can't imagine they would do anything to help WISH.) In Indianapolis, CW programming is already seen on WTTV 4 and WTTK 29, and when CBS takes over those stations' main channels, the CW will move to a sub channel, such as 4.2 or 4.3 and 29.2 or 29.3. TBS is only a cable channel these days and does not affiliate with local stations. WISH could move the MyNetwork affiliation from WNDY 23 to WISH 8, but I am beginning to think they may prefer to put together their own lineup of syndicated programming instead. While much of it would be "reruns" from broadcast or cable, that's pretty much what the MyNetwork does these days anyway. So since WISH has the choice, they may want to customize their lineup by choosing programs that they feel will garner better ratings in this market.

  5. The Pedcor debt is from the CRC paying ~$23M for the Pedcor's parking garage at City Center that is apprased at $13M. Why did we pay over the top money for a private businesses parking? What did we get out of it? Pedcor got free parking for their apartment and business tenants. Pedcor now gets another building for free that taxpayers have ~$3M tied up in. This is NOT a win win for taxpayers. It is just a win for Pedcor who contributes heavily to the Friends of Jim Brainard. The campaign reports are on the Hamilton County website. http://www2.hamiltoncounty.in.gov/publicdocs/Campaign%20Finance%20Images/defaultfiles.asp?ARG1=Campaign Finance Images&ARG2=/Brainard, Jim

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