Emmis selling all four of its St. Louis radio stations

Emmis Communications Corp. on Tuesday announced that it is selling all four of radio stations in St. Louis to two different buyers, leaving it with stations in only three markets.

Indianapolis-based Emmis said it has agreements in principle to sell rock and roll station KSHE-FM 94.7 and alternative station KPNT-FM 105.7 to Hubbard Radio LLC, and news-talk station KFTK-FM 97.1 and top 40 station KNOU-FM 96.3 to Entercom Communications Corp.

Terms of the deals were not disclosed.

Emmis shares rose more than 9 percent Tuesday after the announcement, to $3.27 each.

Emmis has had a presence in the St. Louis market since 1984 when it bought KSHE, and expanded that in 2000 with the purchase of KIHT (now KNOU), KPNT and KFTK.

If both deals close, Emmis would be left with 14 radio stations overall, with four in Indianapolis, four in New York City, and six in Austin, Texas. The company owned 23 radio stations less than seven years ago.

CEO Chairman Jeff Smulyan told IBJ in an email he could not yet comment on the pending deals.

Entercom, a publicly traded company based in Pennsylvania, is the second largest radio company in the United States, owning 235 radio stations across 48 markets. It currently owns three stations in St. Louis.

St. Paul, Minnesota-based Hubbard Radio, a subsidiary of Hubbard Broadcasting, owns 46 stations in 11 markets, including three in St. Louis.

In Indianapolis, Entercom owns top 40 station WZPL-FM 99.5, adult contemporary station WNTR-FM 107.9 and sports-talk station WXNT-AM 1430.

Emmis has whittled down considerable debt in recent years by selling off stations, including an $82.75 million sale of Los Angeles urban station KPWR-FM “Power 106” to Meruelo Group in 2017, and the $5.2 million sale of its Terre Haute radio cluster to three separate buyers.

The company also has sold off a majority of its publishing holdings in the past five quarters, leaving it with Indianapolis Monthly as its only magazine.

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