SALES – STATIONS
Columbus, OH – Tegna strikes a $535 million deal to buy Dispatch Broadcast Group. The deal includes WTHR-TV in Indianapolis and WBNS-TV in Columbus, OH. Included with the Columbus TV station is two radio stations: sports “97.1 The Fan: WBNS-FM and “ESPN 1460” WBNS. The original AM station, WCAH, was founded in 1922. The Wolfe family purchased it in 1927 and changed the call letters to WBNS. They added the TV station in 1949 and then the FM station signed-on in 1957. Tegna plans to retain the radio assets which serve as the flagship home of the Ohio State Buckeyes, Columbus Crew, Columbus Blue Jackets and teams across the state.
Austin – Emmis has agreed to sell its controlling 50.1% interest in in a group of Austin stations to its minority partner, Sinclair Telecable. Under the deal, Sinclair will pay $39.3 million to obtain full ownership of talk KLBJ (590), rock KLBJ-FM (93.7), adult hits “Bob FM 103.5” KBPA-FM, regional Mexican “107.1 La Zeta” KLZT-FM, alternative “101X” KROX, adult alternative “Austin City Limits Radio’ KGSR-FM (93.3), along with “Star 93.3” and “Latino 102.7,” which both air on HD Radio-fed FM translators. Emmis and Sinclair have been partners since Emmis purchased its controlling interest in July 2003 from Luci Baines Johnson, the daughter of U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson and his wife, former First Lady Bird Johnson who owned the stations from 1943 until the family put them into a trust in 1997. Sinclair Telecable is not in any way affiliated with Sinclair Broadcast Group, the television company that owns KEYE-TV in Austin. Bob and David Sinclair will rename their radio company as Waterloo Media once the sale closes.
Detroit – Beasley Media Group strikes a $13.5 million cash deal to buy urban AC “105.9 Kiss FM” WDMK from Urban One. The deal also includes three FM translators, including the Detroit-licensed W228CJ at 93.5 FM; the Detroit-licensed W252BX at 98.3 FM; and the Detroit-licensed W228CU at 93.5 FM. The trio of translators forms the gospel “Detroit Praise Network” relayed off WDMK’s HD2 subchannel. They join a cluster that already includes classic hip-hop “105.1 The Bounce” WMGC-FM, classic rock WCSX (94.7), and rock WRIF (101.1). Urban One last year sold WDKL (102.7) to Educational Media Foundation for $12.7 million. And two years ago, it sold WMUZ (1200) to Crawford Broadcasting for $2 million. The sale of the urban AC leaves the company with only urban “Hot 107.5” WGPR in the Motor City, which it operates under a local marketing agreement with the International Free & Accepted Modern Masons, which owns the FM. The LMA expires at the end of the 2019. Broker: Michael Bergner
Wisconsin – Ben Thompson files a $5.75 million deal to buy country WJVL (99.9) and news/talk WCLO (1230) in Janesville, WI from Bliss Communications. The deal also includes the Janesville, WI-licensed translator W224DE at 92.7 FM which simulcasts WCLO. The sale marks the long-running ownership of the two stations. Skip Bliss’ father signed-on WCLO in 1930 and the family later signed-on WJVL in 1947. The deal also includes two daily newspapers, The Gazette in Janesville and The Eagle Herald in Marinette, WI, as well as three weekly community newspapers, including The Janesville Messenger, The Wisconsin/Illinois Stateline News and Walworth County Shopper Advertiser. According to a filing with the FCC, Ben Thompson will operate WJVL and WCLO independently of Big Radio, which is owned by his father Scott Thompson. Big Radio already owns eight radio stations in the region. They include oldies “The Big FM 93.7” WBGR and “Classic Big Country AM 1260” WEKZ in Monroe, WI; rock “105.9 The Hog” WWHG in Evansville, WI; “Iron Country” WGEZ (1490) and adult hits “The Beat” WBEL (1380) in Beloit, WI; classic rock “Q-102” WQLF in Lena, IL; and “Kickin' Country K-92” WFPS and “Genuine Country 1570” WFRL in Freeport, IL. The filing also shows that Ben Thompson has agreed to a $1 million, three-year non-compete payout to Sydney Bliss Jr. Broker: Kalil
Ft. Walton Beach-Destin, FL – Robert Williamson’s Florala Radio Group files an $810,000 deal to buy gospel WTJT (90.1) from Okaloosa Public Radio. Florala Radio Group also owns gospel WKWL, Florala, AL (1230) and talk WGYV, Greenville, AL (1380).
Texas – Educational Radio Foundation of East Texas files an $800,000 deal to buy four stations from Paul Coates and Mike Huckabee. They include “Real Country 94.3” KZXM and CHR “Fun FM” KLJT (102.3) in the Tyler-Longview, TX market as well as CHR “Fun FM” KFRO-FM, Gilmer, TX (95.3) and regional Mexican “Super 103.1” KMPA, Pittsburg, TX. The Educational Radio Foundation of East Texas already owns contemporary Christian “Encouragement FM” simulcast KVNE (89.5) and religious teaching “Uplifting 91.5” KGLY in the Tyler-Longview market.
Tennessee – Josh and Holly Peterson file a $650,000 deal to buy talk/variety “Thunder 1320” WMSR, Manchester, TN from Robert and Tiffany Clutter’s Coffee County Broadcasting. The deal also includes the Manchester, TN-licensed translator W300BL at 107.9 FM and the Tullahoma, TN-licensed translator W249CV at 106.7 FM.
Grand Junction, CO – Western Slope Communications files a $200,000 deal to buy rock “X-106.9” KMZK from Charles Hall. Western Slope Communications already owns classic rock “Drive 105” KZKS and classic country “105.7 The Range” KWGL in the Grand Junction market. Broker: McCoy Media Enterprises
Texas – Centro Cristiano de Vida Eterna files to swap the construction permit for a Class C3 FM licensed to Matagorda, TX at 106.1 FM to Centro Cristiano de Vida Eterna. In exchange Centro Cristiano will get the Shirley, NY-licensed translator W231CX at 94.1 FM and the Gary, IN-licensed translator at 94.3 FM.
California – LarDog Communications files to donate the currently-silent KROP, Brawley, CA (1300) to Voice of International Christian Evangelism. KROP has been mostly off the air since January 2018 when it told the FCC it was “unable to attract sufficient revenue to sustain broadcast operations.” Voice of International Christian Evangelism already owns contemporary Christian KGBA-FM, Holtsville, CA (101.1) and Spanish religious KGBA, Heber, CA (1490).
SALES – TRANSLATORS
Arizona – LPFM Broadcasting files to buy three translators from Michael Piazza for $5,000. The translators include the Phoenix, AZ-licensed K257CD at 99.3 FM which simulcasts “Money Radio 1510” KFNN; the Flagstaff, AZ-licensed K228XO at 93.5 FM which simulcasts “Country Legends” KAFF (930); and the Prescott, AZ-licensed K280GH at 103.9 FM which simulcasts contemporary Christian “Shine 1450” KNOT.
Tennessee – In a deal valued at $600,000 Gary and Marcella Darnell close a deal to sell a controlling stake in Morgan County Broadcasting to Edward and James Knight. Both Edward Knight and James Knight will each pay $300,000 for a 35% stake. Both will pay $50,000 cash at closing with the balance in 84-month promissory notes. Ed Knight holds the other 30% stake in Morgan County Broadcasting meaning once the sale closes the three Knight family members will fully own “Hot New Country 101.3” WECO-FM and gospel WECO (940) in Wartburg, TN.
Utah – Franklyn Mueller closes a $100,000 deal to buy the currently-silent KQMB, Levan, UT (96.7) and the silent KSRR, Provo, UT (1400) from Zeta Holdings. The deal also includes the Fort Douglas, UT-licensed translator K244DH at 96.7 FM. Mueller doesn’t own any other stations.