Merlin Sells WRXP/New York To CBS Radio, Will Flip To WFAN Simulcast
October 8, 2012
Merlin Media has announced it is selling Modern Rock WRXP/New York to CBS Radio, just over a year after the station was acquired from Emmis and mere months after it flipped from News/Talk back to a Rock format. CBS confirmed it is buying 'RXP for $75 million and will flip the station to a simulcast of Sports WFAN-AM as WFAN-FM. In late fall, CBS Radio will begin operating the station under a LMA, launching a simulcast of "The Fan."
"This is an extremely exciting opportunity to expand our radio presence in the nation’s largest market," said Dan Mason, President/CEO of CBS Radio. "Sports is a very popular format and a huge growth category for our business. As a result of this new asset, we look forward to The Fan building on its position as the leading sports radio franchise in the country."
Merlin CEO Randy Michaels made the announcement to staffers in a memo today, writing, "Rumors about Merlin have been rampant. Today we are announcing the sale of WRXP/New York. Many talented people have worked hard to create a terrific Alternative station, but our obligation to retire significant debt necessitates this decision. Thanks to everyone for your hard work with New Rock 101.9. The formats initial success made the decision very difficult."
He added, "There is a very positive impact of this sale on our balance sheet. This change allows us to increase focus on operating a successful company. Merlin is not for sale, and is looking at possible additions to our portfolio. Let’s focus building the Chicago and Philadelphia stations into great, profitable brands and great places to work."
Last month, Time Out Chicago's Robert Feder reported that GTCR, the private equity firm that teamed with Michaels to form Merlin, was "actively seeking buyers for all of Merlin Media's properties."