NABOB: African American buyers shut out of YMF deal

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Jim WinstonThe “refusal” of station owners to sell to African American buyers continues to wreak havoc upon the African American community, says Jim Winston, Executive Director and General Counsel, National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters: “In the latest development, YMF Media has sold WBLS and WLIB – the flagship stations of Inner City Broadcasting Corporation’s former radio group – to Emmis Communications.  This means that, of the 17 stations previously owned by Inner City, none have been sold to African American owned companies.  Moreover, potential African American buyers report that offers comparable to the Emmis offer were rejected. 


This reflects a lack of concern on the part of YMF and other station sellers to keep ownership of stations previously owned by African Americans in the African American community.  It also reflects a lack of policies in place at the FCC to encourage station sellers to sell stations to companies owned by African Americans. NABOB is continuing to encourage the FCC to establish policies that promote minority ownership.  It is clear that, without such policies, the decline of minority ownership in the broadcast industry will continue.”

RBR-TVBR observation: If this is true that there were comparable offers made by Black-owned broadcasters to YMF in the deal, it’s unfortunate. YMF is partially African-American owned and operated. Ownership interest includes companies controlled by Ron Burkle. Magic Johnson owns a small ownership interest of approximately 20%. In this case, the fit was good for Emmis with Deon Levingston, who was YMF’s president and a former Emmis alum. In the deal, Levingston becomes GM of Emmis’ New York cluster when the LMA commences. DOJ has already approved the deal…the FCC is still considering.


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Carl has been with RBR-TVBR since 1997 and is currently Managing Director/Senior Editor. Residing in Northern Virginia, he covers the business of broadcasting, advertising, programming, new media and engineering. He’s also done a great deal of interviews for the company and handles our ever-growing stable of bylined columnists.