Salem Immaculate

Salem Media Group continues to prune its station portfolio with an $8.2 million sale to Immaculate Heart Media. The latest deal includes four AMs and three FMs in two Florida markets. It’s the largest in a spate of recent sell-offs as the Christian media and conservative talk-focused company strategically downsizes to pay down debt and reduce its leverage ratio.

In Miami, Immaculate Heart Media will pick up Spanish Christian “Radio Luz” WKAT (1080), business news “880 The Biz” WZAB, plus the Miami-licensed translator W249DM at 97.7 FM, which simulcasts WKAT. And in Tampa-St. Petersburg, Immaculate Heart Media files to buy Spanish Christian “Radio Luz” WLCC (760), business news “1380 The Biz” WWMI, plus the Tampa-licensed translator W282CI at 104.3 FM, which simulcasts WLCC, and a construction permit for the St. Petersburg, FL-licensed translator W260DM at 99.9 FM.

The sale in the Miami and Tampa markets follows a deal Salem filed earlier this month to sell one of its AMs and an FM translator in the Orlando market to JVC Media for $900,000.

Once the latest sale closes, Salem will still own Spanish religious WOCN (1450) in Miami and three stations in Tampa, including talk “AM 860 The Answer” WGUL and religious “Faith Talk 570/910” WTBN/WTWD. The contract stipulates that Immaculate Heart will not get the intellectual property or the call sign of Miami’s WKAT as part of the deal so that may reappear on what is currently WOCN.

To pay down debt and reduce its leverage ratio, Salem Media Group CEO Ed Atsinger told investors in March that the company made a hit list of potential stations to sell. “We’ve gone through our entire list of assets and we’ve identified those that are less strategic that we would be willing to sell,” Atsinger told investors then. “We’ve identified prices that would make sense for us; and if those properties can attract those kinds of prices, it’s very likely that we will do some sales.”

The Florida divestitures follow a $750,000 deal signed in March where Salem will part with WSPZ (1260), one of its stations in the Washington, DC market, also to Immaculate Heart Media. Last year Salem cut deals to sell stations in Omaha, NE and Boston.