It’s three down and one to go for the E.W. Scripps Company’s radio exit. On Thursday the Cincinnati-based media company closed sales of 21 radio stations to two buyers as it approaches the finish line of its radio division sell-off. The closing came nearly ten months after Scripps revealed plans to sell its 34 radio stations to focus more intently on its television business.
In the first closing, Scripps wrapped up the $16 million sale of news/talk powerhouse WTMJ (620, 103.3) and country WKTI (94.5) in Milwaukee to Craig Karmazin’s Good Karma Broadcasting. Good Karma yesterday dropped WKTI’s country front and launched “94.5 ESPN FM.” It and “540 ESPN” WAUK, which Karmazin’s group already owned, will initially carry the same programming under the new ownership group. The deal also includes the Milwaukee-licensed translator W277CV at 103.3 FM, which simulcasts WTMJ.
Karmazin joined WTMJ's Jeff Wagner on the air Thursday to share his radio philosophy and talk about how he fell in love with radio as a college student living in New Jersey. An avid sports fan, Karmazin convinced his father, Mel Karmazin, to let him intern one summer at one of his stations. During an internship at sports WIP, Philadelphia, Karmazin said he “fell in love with the business.” By the time he graduated, Karmazin said he was “half way to starting Good Karma.”
In Scripps’ second closing Thursday, SummitMedia completed its purchase of 19 radio stations in four markets for $47 million. Under the deal, Birmingham-based SummitMedia has greatly expanded the size of its radio portfolio, entering four new markets and expanding beyond its core Southeastern base. Here are the stations that are now part of SummitMedia:
Wichita (market No. 105): SummitMedia now owns the market’s top ratings dog, country KFDI-FM (101.3), which retuned to double-digit territory in Nielsen’s spring 2018 survey with an 11.7 share, along with two other stations in the top ten: rock “T-95” KICT-FM (95.1) and classic rock “The Fox” KFXJ (104.5), plus regional Mexican “Radio Lobo 106.5” KYQQ and “Classic Country 1070” KFTI which serve niche audiences in the market.
Springfield (market No. 135): Another market where Summit bought a market-dominant country station – KTTS-FM (94.7), which posted an 8.7 share in the spring book, along with rhythmic CHR “Power 96.5” KSPW which tied for third place. The deal also includes news/talk KSGF-AM & FM (1260, 104.1) and adult hits “106.7 The River” KRVI.
Omaha (market No. 74): SummitMedia’s new cluster here includes four stations in the top 10 but no market dominators – hot AC “Star 104.5” KSRZ, rock “Z-92” KEZO-FM (92.3), rhythmic CHR “Channel 94.1” KQCH and classic rock “CD 105.9” KKCD are ranked fifth sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively, in Nielsen's spring survey with sports “AM 590 ESPN Radio” KXSP further down the ranker.
Knoxville (market No. 72): CHR “Star 102.1” WWST is the top performer of the bunch, ranked third with a 7.0, followed by rhythmic CHR “Hot 104.5” WKHT (fifth with a 6.6), country “Q 100.3” WCYQ (4.3, seventh) and “Classic Hits 93.1” WNOX (3.6, eighth).
In early October, Griffin Communications closed a $12.5 million deal to buy five radio stations in Tulsa from Scripps. Still to close: Lotus Communications’ purchase of eight stations in Boise and Tucson for $8 million.