As part of iHeartMedia‘s efforts to grow its BIN: Black Information Network audio offering superserving African American consumers, the nation’s biggest owner of radio stations in December agreed to purchase two Dallas-markets AMs and their corresponding FM translators from Mortenson Broadcasting Co.
Days later, iHeart struck a deal with Multicultural Radio Broadcasting to buy an AM in Houston, which was pinpointed for use as that market’s BIN home.
Then, as 2020 came to a close, iHeartMedia filed paperwork with the FCC seeking to reclaim a Class C1 FM licensed to a town in Minnesota serving the Grand Forks, N. Dakota, market.
The deals, while involving the No. 1 radio company in the U.S., were rather ordinary in their structure. Only, an unexpected occurrence transpired prior to closing that required a closer FCC examination: a major British radio broadcasting company’s chief funding source took a big chunk of publicly traded stock, giving an individual through a Bahamian entity 8.8% attributable interest in iHeartMedia.
This led the Audio Division of the FCC’s Media Bureau to review the three transactions, culminating in the issuance late Friday (3/26) of a Memorandum Opinion and Order from division Chief Al Shuldiner.