The broadcast deal market has been sluggish and challenging in 2021. Not counting Gray Television’s big consolidation deals, the first half of 2021 registered a total deal volume of $139.2 million. That’s less than the average monthly deal volume in any of the years between 2011 and 2019. These market conditions have made the assistance of broadcast brokers more important than ever, Kagan says in a rundown of broadcast broker activities for first half 2021.
More than half of first half 2021 volume ($70.8 million) came from just 12 deals ranging from $2.5 million to $18.1 million. Nine of the 12 deals were conducted with the assistance of broadcast brokers.
The largest radio deal of the first half of 2021 was brokered by Richard A. Foreman Associates. On June 3, Sinclair Broadcast Group announced the sale of its three stations in Seattle – “News Radio” KOMO - AM & FM (1000, 97.7), hot AC “Star 101.5” KPLZ and “Talk Radio 570” KVI – to Lotus Communications for $18 million in cash and other consideration. The deal marked the TV giant’s radio exit.
Foreman also brokered the $2.5 million sale of two FM stations in upstate New York, targeting the city of Montreal, Canada from Martz Communications Group to Educational Media Foundation. The border-crossing deal includes CHR “94.7 Hits” WYUL Chateaugay, NY and “Wild Country 96.5” WVNV Malone.
Fowler Media Consulting brokered five deals, the largest one being the $4.0 million sale of tropical WNUE-FM (98.1) in the Melbourne-Titusville-Cocoa market from Entravision Communications to Radio Training Network.
Bergner & Co. was the financial advisor for a three-way $1.8 million deal in which seven FM and four AM radio stations, five FM translators and one FM booster in the New York markets of Elmira-Corning and Olean were sold from Sound Communications to Seven Mountains Media of NY and Southern Belle. The deal grew Seven Mountains’ footprint in New York’s Southern Tier region.
Robert H. Branch Jr. was the broker in the sale of an FM station in the Albuquerque, NM market from Calvary Albuquerque to Bible Broadcasting Network for $1.4 million.
Kagan says four other brokers, MyMediaBroker.com, Jorgenson Broadcast Brokerage, Griffin Media Brokers and Media Services Group, registered a brokered deal volume above $1 million through a number of smaller deals. In July, at the beginning of the second half of the year, Hadden & Assoc. became the 12th broker of the year registering a million dollars or more.
July was a big month for Kalil & Co., the leader of Kagan’s broadcast broker rankings in 2018, 2019 and 2020. Kalil registered only one deal announcement worth $850,000 in the first half of the year but announced eight transactions amounting to a total of $65.7 million between July 12 and July 29.
Altogether, between January and June 2021, Kagan says it received deal announcements from 32 broadcast brokers — only five fewer than all of 2020. More significantly, the total broadcast brokered volume of $83.6 million was 67% higher than in the first half of 2020 and reached $151.4 million on July 29, exceeding 2020's total of $148.3 million.
Aside from the Gray transactions, the largest TV transaction was Sovryn Holdings’ $10.0 million acquisition of two Class A TV stations in Los Angeles from NRJ Holdings, brokered by Patrick Communications.