The radio community is remembering longtime media broker Glenn Serafin, who died Monday in Tampa from a stroke. He was 69. Serafin launched his own brokerage firm, Serafin Brothers, in 1993 and served two terms as President of the National Association of Media Brokers, from 2013-2017.
Like many of the brokers striking deals today, Serafin rode the highs of consolidation in the late-1990s and remained upbeat through the years following the Great Recession, which sent station values plummeting. But from Serafin’s vantage point, radio remained an attractive investment opportunity, even if the numbers weren’t what they once were.
“Radio is ubiquitous. It is the original wireless medium. It is agile in adapting to change. Programming is affordable. There are large pools of talent, both sales and air talent,” Serafin told Inside Radio in a 2015 interview. He added, “Profit margins can be very high compared to most other business. And we get terrific tax treatment. What’s not to like?”
Radio was long an interest for Serafin, well before he was a media broker selling stations. While attending Fordham University in the late-1960s, he worked at the student-run WFUV New York (90.7) in the early days of FM radio. After graduating with a communications degree, Serafin went to work at the Asbury Park Press newspaper in New Jersey and at the two Asbury Park, NJ stations owned by the newspaper: WJLK-FM (94.3) and what’s today WADB (1310).
In 1975 Serafin made the jump to the Associated Press, where he spent a decade working in news, sales, and management, rising to Deputy Director of Broadcasting. He joined the international investment banking firm Communications Equity Associates in 1985 and remained there until opening his own brokerage firm eight years later. Over the years Serafin was involved in radio and television transactions in 53 different ranked markets, plus many more deals in unrated markets.
His knowledge of radio and television station transactions and values often made him a go-to source for journalists through the years.
A Clifton, NJ native, Serafin held onto his northeastern roots. In addition to his home in Tampa, he also spent time at a home in the Breezy Point beach area of Queens, New York. He is survived by his wife, Josephine, and two adult children – daughter Rachel and son Shane and his wife Billie and their two children.