Emmis Announces Acquisition of WBLS-FM & WLIB-AM/New York
February 11, 2014
Untitled Document

Emmis Communications has reached an agreement with YMF Media to purchase urban adult contemporary WBLS 107.5 FM, the No. 2 radio station in New York, and its sister station, WLIB 1190 AM, NY’s first African-American targeted station offering an urban gospel format, for $131 million in cash.

Emmis, which already owns WQHT (HOT 97) in New York, will nearly double the company’s annual station operating income through this acquisition.

“Today’s announcement is indicative of our belief in the US radio industry and our desire to increase our footprint in the nation’s largest market,” said Jeff Smulyan, President & CEO of Emmis Communications. “Emmis has deep ties to the New York African-American community, and it is with great pride we take the helm of these iconic stations.”

The purchase price will be paid in two installments.  The first payment of approximately $55 million will occur promptly after the initial grant of the FCC’s consent to assignment of the stations’ FCC licenses, expected to be in the summer of 2014.  The second payment of approximately $76 million will occur in February 2015.

The acquisition is subject to the expiration or earlier termination of the applicable waiting period under the Hart Scott Rodino Antitrust Improvement Act of 1976, a standard anti-trust review.  Emmis and YMF will request early termination of the waiting period, which could allow the company to begin programming the stations under a Local Programming and Marketing Agreement (LMA) on or around March 1.  The monthly LMA fee will be $1.275 million until the first purchase price payment.  Thereafter, the monthly LMA fee will be reduced to $0.74 million and will continue until the second closing.

Deon Levingston
, CEO of YMF Media and General Manager of WBLS/WLIB, will become GM of Emmis’ New York cluster when the LMA commences. Levingston previously worked for Emmis in various management roles. 

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Mark Adams
San Francisco

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