How Emmis came to own its exiting FM trio


If RBR-TVBR calculations hold up, the sale of WRXP-FM in New York and WKQX-FM and WLUP-FM in Chicago will come home at just a little less than $200M in cash and other consideration. Not surprisingly, seller Emmis spent a bit more than that to get them.

RBR-TVBR believes that the combination of cash, equity and a share of buyer Merlin Media should wind up totaling $198M or so.

The stations have come to the company in three separate deals. We virtually dusted off some of our older files to take a look into the past.

The oldest dates back to the first year of the Reagan administration. The seller has a familiar name, but has been  long absent from the ranks of radio owners and operators. The station is now WKQX-FM, and it was part of a five-station acquisition from NBC. That 1981 deal came in for a total of $112M.

Emmis bought the New York station from Tribune – at the time, it went by the calls WQCD-FM. It paid $140M for it. The year was 1997.

Finally in 2004, Emmis struck a multi-station deal with Bonneville that brought in WLUP-FM in Chicago. Emmis traded a trio of Phoenix stations for WLUP, which was valued at $140M. The Phoenix stations were valued at $210M, so Emmis also benefitted from a $70M cash payment in that transaction.