Last month Radio Ink conducted a series of interviews with brokers to see whether or not they thought iHeart or Cumulus would sell stations now that their balance sheets were cleaner. Across the board, the answer was no. Turns out they were wrong on that question, as Cumulus pulled the trigger on a very big deal this week. Here are the details…
In the deals, nine Cumulus stations will end up in new hands, while the company adds three in Indianapolis. The biggest deal was with Christian radio powerhouse Educational Media Foundation, which will get WPLJ/New York; WYAY/Atlanta; WRQX/Washington, DC; KFFG/San Jose; WZAT/Savannah, GA; and WXTL/Syracuse, NY, for $103.5 million. That transaction is expected to close in Q2 of this year.
Additionally, Cumulus will swap its WNSH-FM (NASH)/New York and WMAS-FM and WHLL-AM in Springfield, MA, for Entercom’s three-station cluster in Indianapolis: WNTR-FM, WXNT-AM, and WZPL-FM.
Cumulus President/CEO Mary Berner said, “These transactions are consistent with our portfolio optimization strategy and both deals are accretive. The Entercom swap significantly bolsters our competitive position in Indianapolis, and the EMF transaction generates substantial cash for debt repayment and investment in other business opportunities.”
Cumulus said its Indy buy will move it into the leading ratings position in the market.
With the six Cumulus stations, EMF will have 565 K-LOVE stations nationwide — adding four new markets to the network’s reach.
“We are thrilled to add these stations to the K-LOVE networks,” EMF President and interim CEO Alan Mason said. “Our mission is to create compelling media that inspires and encourages listeners to have a meaningful relationship with Christ. These are legendary stations that will enable us to enter new markets in Washington, DC, Atlanta, Savannah, and Syracuse and expand our footprint in New York.”
Entercom described the transactions as “immediately accretive to Entercom” as President/CEO David Field said, “We are excited to add NASH FM 94.7 to our outstanding lineup in New York City and to add WMAS and WHLL to our cluster in Springfield. These additions will enhance our ability to serve our listeners, partners, and communities. We are saddened to part ways with our colleagues in Indianapolis, but know that they will be in great hands.”