Urban One has cut a deal to sell “105.9 Kiss FM” WDMK Detroit and three translators to Beasley Broadcast Group for $13.5 million. The sale of the urban AC leaves Urban One with only urban “Hot 107.5” WGPR in the Motor City, which it operates under an LMA that expires at the end of the 2019.
Urban One began to wind down its operations in Motown in May 2018, when it signed a $12.7 million deal to sell gospel “Praise 102.7” WPZR to Educational Media Foundation.
Urban One says it will continue to operate WGPR under its current LMA with the International Free & Accepted Modern Masons, which owns the FM, until the end of the year. That’s when it is expected to exit Detroit after having a presence there since 1998.
But several of its best known syndicated shows will remain on the air in the market. “We are thrilled that Beasley has agreed to continue airing our syndicated programming, including ‘The Tom Joyner Morning Show,’ ‘D.L. Hugley Afternoon Show,’ ‘Get Up! Mornings with Erica Campbell’ and ‘The Willie Moore, Jr. Afternoon Show,’ allowing Urban One to continue serving the Detroit community of listeners,” Urban One CEO Alfred Liggins said in the announcement.
WDMK will be a solid fit with the classic hip-hop format on Beasley’s “105.1 The Bounce” WMGC-FM and increase Beasley’s African American audience in Detroit, where the market is 22% Black. WDMK rose 2.9-3.2 in Nielsen’s April survey to rank 16th, trailing iHeartMedia urban AC WMXD, which was in a three-way tie for second place with a 6.1 share. Beasley also owns top-rated classic rock WCSX (94.7) and active rock WRIF (101.1) in Detroit.
As part of the Urban One deal, Beasley also gets three translators – 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 sub-channel. Collectively they posted a 1.3 share in the April monthly.
Beasley Grows Detroit Share
Beasley entered the Detroit market in late 2016 via its purchase of Greater Media. Calling the WDMK acquisition “a strategically and financially compelling growth opportunity,” CEO Caroline Beasley said the addition will get the company closer to its goal of capturing 30% revenue share in each of its markets while also “delivering valuable synergies and the potential for station operating income margin improvement.”
The deal “significantly enhances our revenue and competitive position in Detroit,” Beasley added, pointing to the renaissance the city is experiencing “as a result of billions of dollars of new investments in the city’s residential, commercial, entertainment and cultural centers, all of which are driving new residents, businesses, tourists, employment and economic activity.”
The deal will immediately produce cash flow, she added, without “materially” affecting the company’s debt leverage.
Beasley says it will pay for the purchase with borrowings under its credit facility and cash from operations. Post-closing, the company will continue to have a “strong balance sheet” and the financial flexibility to make more growth investments, Beasley said.
The company says it hopes to close the purchase in fourth quarter 2019 and reap the strategic benefits of the deal by 2020.