George Laughlin’s GAP Broadcasting is branching out from its mid-country roots, moving into a western deal with Clear Channel that was abandoned Christopher F. Devine’s Blue Point Media LLC. And then some — Laughlin’s actually picking up two additional markets not in the original deal. Brokerage firm Kalil & Co. handled the resale. The Devine deal, which was valued at 45.7M, included stations in Billings MT, Bozeman MT, Missoula MT, Shelby MT, Duluth MN-Superior WI, Idaho Falls-Pocatello ID and Twin Falls ID. Clear Channel’s FCC merger filing submitted December 2006 listed two AMs and four FMs in Yakima WA and one AM and four FMs in Richland-Kennewick-Pasco WA. GAP picks up an added bonus as well in the form of radio executive Skip Weller. He was in line to run the station under Devine’s ownership, and will move with the stations into the GAP lineup.
RBR observation: This is an important transaction for Clear Channel, tying up a seriously dangling loose end as it prepares to go private. The elephant in the room remains, however, the troubled 450M multimarket deal in which Jeff Warshaw is pinch-hitting for Dean Goodman. For Laughlin, it marks his second major buy from Clear Channel and opens up a new piece of territory for his growing group. GAP’s other markets include Abilene, Amarillo, Lubbock, Lufkin-Nacogdoches, Odessa-Midland, Tyler-Longview, Victoria and Wichita Falls in Texas, Texarkana on the Texas-Arkansas border, Shreveport and Lake Charles in Louisiana and Lawton in Oklahoma. The price for the expanded transaction was not immediately available.