Cumulus snags Family Stations’ Apple FM


CumulusReligious broadcast group Family Stations has finally signed on the bottom line to let WFME-FM Newark NJ move into the world of commercial radio, and Cumulus Media is the radio group getting the prize.

Cumulus is in the market already with two heritage ABC Radio stations that it got via its acquisition of Citadel – iconic news-talker WABC-AM and Hot AC WPLJ-FM.

WFME is a Class B on 94.7 MHz with 23.5 kW @ 679’. It does an excellent job blanketing the center of the market.

Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey commented, “This strategic acquisition of our second FM in the nation’s largest market will enable us to provide compelling new programming for our listeners and a powerful marketing vehicle for our advertising partners.”

Terms of the deal were not released. For comparison purposes, RBR-TVBR notes that Merlin Media acquired a Family Stations top-10 market near the opposite end of the New Jersey Turnpike from New York.

That station was WWKD-FM (now WWIQ). Merlin acquired it for $22.5K in a deal accepted by the FCC for filing on 12/7/11.

Since then, Family Stations filled in the hole in its portfolio by acquiring Philadephia AM station WPEN from Greater Media for $8.5M in a deal announced in late September of this year.

RBR-TVBR observation: This is the ultimate stick deal – a full-coverage FM in the nation’s largest media market, with absolutely no format heritage. It’s a blank slate, and while Cumulus is filling in the blanks, more than 15 and a half million sets of 12+ ears (per Arbitron Fall 2011) will be listening in.

The deal will put at least one topic of conversation to rest.—we’ve been hearing about the possible sale of WFME since we’ve been in this business. The subject can now be crossed off the idle chatter list.

Pricing: Based on the Philly deal, we’d guess that the price tag for WFME is in the $50M range. That guess is based on gut instinct alone – but with Cumulus hoping to close on the station before year’s end, we’ll know the exact price soon enough.

The other question is whether or not Family Stations is shopping around for a replacement station. We’ll keep our eyes open for developments on that end as well.