FCC clears license transfers to Merlin Media


Randy Michaels and Walter Sabo at Merlin Media have been running two FM stations in Chicago and one in New York under an LMA arrangement with Emmis Communications for a month and a half. Now the FCC has given the green light to the license transfers, so the $198 million sale can go to closing. We’re told that is set for September 1st.

As anticipated from the beginning, Emmis will retain an equity stake of approximately 25%. Randy Michaels personally will own about 1%. The bulk of the investment is coming from GTRC Investment – a big private equity fund based in Chicago.

Merlin Media wasted no time shaking up both markets, launching new FM All-News stations. The Chicago launch was July 29th and the more recent launch in New York was August 12th.

Michaels told RBR-TVBR that the format is designed to attract listeners who wouldn’t be drawn to traditional All-News stations.

RBR-TVBR observation: What’s next? Merlin Media was not created to stop at just three stations. Emmis doesn’t appear to have any other big-market signals for sale, so what other stations will Randy try to buy?

See the latest of the Merlin Marlin to CBS’s WINS Radio, NYC.