Deal Digest: M&A Market Picks Up With New Sales, Closings.

Multistate Deal – Jon Kelly files a $31,969,066 deal to take a controlling stake in SummitMedia, which owns 23 stations in Birmingham, AL; Greenville, SC; Honolulu; Louisville; Richmond, VA; and Tuscaloosa, AL. Kelly will take a 65% stake in the company that had been majority controlled by the private equity firm HighPoint Holdings since SummitMedia formed in 2013. Kelly is an entrepreneur with a background in broadcasting and he is the former principal of Kelly Broadcasting. He is paying cash for the controlling stake. The remaining shareholders will continue to include SummitMedia CEO Carl Parmer, who will hold a 5% stake in the company. Three other company executives, including national sales manager Paul Bankston, SVP of programming Bill Tanner, and SVP of finance Darryl Grondines, will each own a less than a 1% stake in the company.

Oregon – Randolph and Debra McKone’s Elkhorn Media Group files a $1.75 million deal to buy seven stations and four translators in the Columbia Basin from Capps Broadcast Group. CHR “107.7 Hot FM” KWVN-FM, country “K-Wheat 103.5” KWHT, classic hits “92.1 Party FM” KUMA-FM, “News Talk 1290” KUMA, sports “1240 ESPN The Ticket” KTIX, and sports “1490 ESPN” KTEL in the Pendleton, OR-Walla Walla, WA region. The deal also includes the Pendleton, OR-licensed translator K276GF at 103.1 FM which simulcast KTIX; the Milton-Freewater, OR-licensed K259CR at 99.7 FM which simulcasts KTEL; the Heppner, OR-licensed translator K261BH at 100.1 FM which relays KWVN-FM; and the Walla Walla, WA-licensed translator K237DM at 95.3 FM which also simulcasts KWVN-FM. The deal includes a $1.65 million promissory note. Elkhorn Media Group will operate the stations under a local marketing agreement until closing. It already owns six stations in the region but it won’t be required to spin-off any of its assets under current FCC ownership limits.

Boston – Bloomberg strikes a $1 million deal to add two more signals in the Boston market. It files to by oldies “The Legends” WNBP (1450) and the Newburyport, MA-licensed translator W291CC at 106.1 FM from Carl Strube and Pete Falconi’s Port Broadcasting. Bloomberg will operate the stations under a $9,400-per month local marketing agreement until closing. Bloomberg already clears its business news radio network in the Boston market through a pair of time brokerage deals. It operates WRCA (1330) and the HD2 channel of modern rock “Alt 92.9” WBOS under a deal with Beasley Media Group. And Bloomberg Radio clears on WXKS (1200) and the HD2 channel of rhythmic CHR “Jam’n 94.5” WJMN under a deal with iHeartMedia. Once the sale closes Port Broadcasting will still own six stations in New Hampshire and Maine. Broker: Brad Murray, JBM Radio Consulting

Maine – Maine Public Radio Broadcasting files a $550,000 deal to buy WTQX, Boothbay Harbor, ME (96.7) from Louis Vitali’s Blueberry Broadcasting. While Main Public Broadcasting already covers the region with news-talk WMEP, Camden, ME (90.5) the addition of WTQX will allow it to also bring its classical format to the area. The Class B1 FM currently relays rock WTOS-FM (105.1) from the Augusta-Waterville market into a coastal region stretching from Brunswick to Rockland. The station still has a simulcast further up the coast with WTUX (101.1) that covers the Bar Harbor region.

Hudson Valley, NY – Townsquare Media spins-off a 1,000-watt standalone AM in the far northern suburbs of New York City. Radio Kingston files a $500,000 deal to buy the full-service AC WKNY, Kingston, KY (1490). Radio Kingston is a partnership among several players in the region’s arts and culture scene with ties to the NoVo Foundation, a New York City-based not-for-profit led by Peter Buffet—the youngest son of billionaire investor Warren Buffet—and his wife Jennifer. The NoVo Foundation says on its website that it is “dedicated to catalyzing a transformation in global society, moving from a culture of domination to one of equality and partnership.” Once the sale closes Townsquare Media will still own five stations in the nearby Poughkeepsie, NY market including country “94.3 The Wolf” WKXP, hot AC “Mix 97” WCZX, rock WPDH (101.5), modern rock WRRB (96.9), and Spanish adult hits “Juan AM” WEOK (1390). Broker: Andrew Guest

Georgia – Radio Training Network files a $475,000 deal to buy WWWD, Bolingbroke, GA (102.1) from Flinn Broadcasting. The Class A FM currently airs EMF’s contemporary Christian “K-Love” network. Radio Training Network is expected to switch to its own contemporary Christian network “Joy FM.” It will operate WWWD under a time brokerage agreement until closing. Broker: Eddie Esserman, Media Services Group

Pittsburgh – Bhavna Gupta and Gagan Deep file an $180,000 deal to buy “Gospel Excellence AM 1150” WMNY from Pentecostal Temple Development Corp. The sale will leave Pentecostal Temple with simulcast sister WGBN (1360) in the market. Broker: Roger Rafson, CMS Station Brokerage

Hot Springs, AR – Edward and Leticia Vega’s La Zeta files a $150,000 deal that peels off one of US Station’s six stations in market No. 265. La Zeta strikes an agreement to buy KBHS (1420). The station has 5,000-watts day and 87-watts night. It currently simulcasts sister “News Talk 1340” KZNG. La Zeta already operates in Arkansas. It owns regional Mexican-formatted FMs in the Little Rock and Fayetteville markets. The deal will leave US Stations with five stations in Hot Springs including country “US-97” KQUS-FM, classic country “101.5 The Bull” KLBL, CHR KLAZ (105.9),classic rock “96.7 The Rocket” KLXQ, and KZNG.

Fayetteville, AR – Steve Butler and John Lykins’ Media One Group files a $125,000 deal to buy religious KOFC (1250) from Bott Broadcasting. The deal also includes the Osceola, MO-licensed translator K277AZ at 103.3 FM. Media One Group already owns three stations in the market including modern rock “104.9 The X” KXNA, talk “1390 The Center” KFFK and sports “1190 The Fan” KREB. Once the sale closes Bott Broadcasting will still own KAYH (89.3) in the Fayetteville market. Broker: Bill Lytle

Utica-Rome, NY – Cassandra Harris-Lockwood’s Phoenix Radio files a $125,000 deal to buy WRCK (1480) and WUSP (1550) from Frank Abbadessa’s Good Guys Broadcasting. The deal also includes the Utica, NY-licensed translator W238CA at 95.5 FM. The stations have been off the air since June with the company citing “continuing financial reasons.” Good Guys Broadcasting bought the stations for $350,000 in 2012.

South Dakota – Rob Ingstad files an $85,000 deal to buy religious KKAA, Aberdeen, SD (1560) and religious KQKD, Redfield, SD (1380) from Family Stations. Ingstad owns 14 others stations in North Dakota, Oregon and Alaska, but these two AMs will become his first in South Dakota. Broker: Beth Griffin

Alabama – Caldwell Media files a $50,000 deal to buy gospel KWXT, Dardanelle, AR (1490) from the estate of George Domerese. Bradford Caldwell already owns classic rock “107.3 Earl FM” KERL in the area. The Domerese family is still in the process of selling gospel daytimer KMTL (760) in the Little Rock market.

Syracuse, NY – Letitia and Robert English’s Towercast Media files a $40,000 deal to buy WMCR (1600) from Jim Johnson’s Leatherstocking Media Group. The deal includes a $32,000 promissory note. The sale will leave Leatherstocking Media with WFBL (1390) and WSEN (1050) in the Syracuse market. All three AMs are currently off the air.

Richmond, VA – Mike Mazursky’s Mobile Radio Partners files a $25,000 deal to buy WONA (1540) from Nancy Epperson’s Delmarva Educational Association. Mobile Radio Partners already has a pending $75,000 deal to buy R&B oldies/talk WCLM (1450) from World Media Broadcast Company in the Richmond market. Mazursky is a former vice president of sales for Davidson Media Group’s Richmond cluster. WONA has been off the air since last November when Delmarva Educational Association told the FCC it was moving to a new location. Once the sale closes Delmarva Educational Association will still own talk “AM 820 The Answer” WNTW in the Richmond market.

Georgia – Neal Ardman’s NIA Broadcasting files a $20,000 deal to buy WSYL, Sylvania, GA (1490) from Catherine Staton’s Georgia Eagle Broadcasting. The station has been off the air since 2016 after a utility worker mowing near its property clipped a guy wire and the tower for WSYL fell on top of its studio building. Georgia Eagle also has a pending $150,000 deal to its other stations to John Timms’ Central Georgia Radio.

Florida – Paul Stone’s Southern Stone Communications files a $5,000 deal to buy WJZS, Live Oak, FL (106.1) from Newman Broadcasting. The Class A station currently relays talk “96.5 The Jet” WJTK, Columbia City, FL. The closing may be a long time in coming however. That’s because Southern Stone Communications will operate WJTK under a local marketing agreement until June 2023 under a local marketing agreement. The LMA says Stone will operate WJZS for no fee through the end of 2017. Beginning Jan. 1, 2018 and through the remainder of the LMA he agrees to pay 50% of the station’s annual broadcast cash flow to Cesta Newman as an LMA fee. Southern Stone Communications already owns classic hits WCJX (106.5), country “The Big 98” WQHL-FM and classic hits “The Big Dog 1250” WQHL in the region that sits between the Jacksonville and Tallahassee markets.

Stockton, CA – Delta 2000 files a one dollar deal to buy KBCC (89.5) from the Peace and Justice Network of San Joaquin County. Since being licensed in 2010 the Class A FM has spent more time off the air than broadcasting. Most recently it has been silent since last September for equipment replacement work. Delta 2000 is a not-for-profit that tells the FCC it plans to use KBCC as a “showcase for local artists and musicians.”

SALES – TRANSLATORS

Birmingham, AL – Courtney French Broadcasting files a $385,000 deal to buy the Birmingham-licensed translator W235BS at 94.9 FM from Red Mountain Broadcasting. The signal will be used to give R&B oldies/gospel “900 Gold” WATV an FM outlet. Under the terms of the agreement Courtney French will have six months to relocate the station pledging it won’t move to a spot that causes interference with Red Mountain Broadcasting’s Birmingham-licensed W276BQ at 103.1 FM which brands itself as rock “103.1 The Vulcan” relaying off the HD2 channel of iHeartMedia’s CHR “103.7 The Q” WQEN.

CLOSINGS

Los Angeles – Meruelo Media Group closes an $82.75 million deal to buy urban “Power 106” KPWR from Emmis Communications. The acquisition gives Meruelo Media its third radio station in southern California where it already owns R&B oldies KDAY (93.5) and KWHY-TV (channel 22) in the L.A. metro and rhythmic CHR “Wild 93.5” KDEY in the nearby Riverside-San Bernardino market. No format change is planned. Emmis had owned the standalone FM for 32 years.

New Hampshire – Dirk Nadon’s Lakes Media closes a $2.6 million deal to buy classic rock “The Hawk 104.9” WLKZ, Wolfeboro, NH; “Sports Radio 101.5” WZEI, Meredith, NH; and talk “The Pulse 107.7” WTPL from Jeff Shapiro’s Great Eastern Radio. The deal is a bit of a homecoming for Nadon who along with his father put the 101.5 FM frequency on the air in the 1980s. Broker: Dick Foreman

Montana – Cherry Creek Radio closes a deal that will see it to swap its five-station cluster in Helena, MT including classic rock “Z-101” KZMT, country “99.5 The Bull” KBLL-FM, hot AC “B-104” KBMI-FM, adult hits “98.5 Dave FM” KHGC, and “News Radio 950” KCAP to Kevin Terry’s The Montana Radio Company. In exchange for the station it is swapping away Cherry Creek Radio will receive the currently-silent KMTZ (107.7) in the Butte, MT area, as well as three Great Falls, MT-licensed FM translators including K298BL at 107.5 FM; K280GG at 103.9 FM, and K260AU at 99.9 FM. Cherry Creek already owns a five-station cluster in the Great Falls market. Under the terms of the deal The Montana Radio Company also paid $1.89 million to Cherry Creek. The Montana Radio Company already owns six stations in the Helena, MT market so it has closed a pair of separate deals to spin-off four FMs in order to comply with FCC ownership limits. KBMI-FM and KHGC are being donated to Hi-Line Radio Fellowship. And “Rock 106.5” KKRK and the currently-silent KVMO (96.3) are being donated to Montana State University-Billings. Broker: Jody McCoy

Fayetteville, AR – Jay Bunyard closes a $1.15 million deal to buy adult standards “Variety 106.5” KBVA from Gayla Joy Hendren-McKenzie’s Hendren Radio. Bunyard Broadcasting already owns four Fayetteville market stations including country “96.7 The Coyote” KCYT, sports “ESPN Radio 99.5” KAKS and its simulcast on KUOA (1290), and classic hits “Star 101.5” KFMD-FM. Broker: Jason James, Patrick Communications

Jackson, MS – Clay Holladay’s New South Radio expands its cluster as it closes a $600,000 deal to buy classic country “93.5 The Legend” WHJT from Mississippi College. It’s a format that also continues to air on sister stations WIIN (780) and WSFZ (930). WHJT joins New South Radio’s cluster that also includes “US 96.3 Country” WUSJ, soft AC “Mix 98.7” WJKK, and CHR “Y-101” WYOY. In order to comply with FCC ownership limits the company ended its time brokerage agreement with Flinn Broadcasting to operate WJXN-FM (100.9). Brokers: Greg Guy and Jason James, Patrick Communications

Illinois – Between the Rockford, IL and Davenport, IA markets Fletcher Ford’s Virden Broadcasting closes a $400,000 deal to buy AC “Q-94” WSSQ, Sterling, IL; classic country “Willie 102.7” WZZT, Morrison, IL; and news-talk/classic hits WSDR, Sterling, IL (1240) from Withers Broadcasting. Virden Broadcasting already owns nine other stations in Illinois but none will overlap with the cluster. Broker: Patrick Communications

Eugene-Springfield, OR – In a deal valued at $226,000 Mielke Broadcasting Group closes a deal to acquire KLZS (1450) from Max Williams’ Eugene Comedy Radio. John and Susan Mielke already own classic hits “Solid Gold Radio 84” KKNX (840) in the market. Under the terms of the contract Mielke Broadcasting Group will forgive an outstanding $15,000 it is due from Eugene Comedy Radio for unpaid tower lease bills. It will also assume a $211,000 promissory note held by Arlie & Company which sold KLZS to Eugene Comedy Radio for $225,000 in 2012. KLZS dropped its comedy format and went silent in June citing “financial difficulties.”

Oregon – Tom Hodgins and Chris Jacky’s Xana Oregon closes a $50,000 deal to buy KHKF, Island City, OR (102.3) from Brett Miller’s MCH Enterprises. The construction permit is for a Class C2 FM covering an area to the southeast of the Tri-Cities, WA market. None of Xana Oregon’s four other stations will overlap with KHKF. Miller secured the CP license during Auction No. 98 in 2015 with a $20,000 bid minus a 35% new entrant bidding credit. Xana says it may have to repay at least part of that $7,000 credit since it owns more than three stations.

Pennsylvania – Ed and Carol Niewinski’s J.M.J. Radio closes a $45,000 deal to buy religious WCOZ, New Albany, PA (91.7) from Telikoja Educational Broadcasting. J.M.J. Radio already owns noncommercial Catholic-programmed WQOR (750) and WAZL (1490) in the nearby Wilkes Barre-Scranton, PA market and WCOZ has joined that simulcast which also includes the Scranton-licensed translator W255BO at 98.9 FM.

Georgia – Just outside the Macon, GA market Kris Kendrick’s Oconee River Broadcasting closes a $25,425 deal to buy “Country 102.3” WKZR and “Sports Radio 1450” WMVG in Milledgeville, GA from Randy Beasley. Oconee River Broadcasting also owns “Farm Radio 810” WYZI in Royston, GA.

Minnesota – Red Rock Radio closes a $20,000 deal to sell sports “The Fan 1340” KRBT, Eveleth, MN to Dennis Yourczek’s Range Broadcasting. Yourczek—who previously was a programmer for former Minnesota station owner Iron Range Broadcasting—doesn’t own any other stations.

Texas – The River Ministries closes a $20,000 deal to buy religious KHHC, Canadian, TX (91.3) from the Solid Rock Foundation. Solid Rock Foundation still owns KBDW, Lefors, TX (91.7) which is a construction permit for a Class A FM.


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