ORLANDO — In a lower-level conference room beneath the cacophony of consultants, vendors, air talent and radio industry C-Suiters parading around the 2018 Radio Show at the Bonnet Creek Resort, top-level executives at Hubbard Radio held court early Wednesday morning with CEO Ginny Morris and President/COO Drew Horowitz.
Few knew that the Minneapolis-based owner of stations in seven top markets would be adding an eighth — just a three-hour drive down Florida’s Turnpike from this Central Florida metropolis.
In a brief announcement made late Tuesday night, Portland, Ore.-based Alpha Media has reached an agreement in principle to sell its six radio stations in West Palm Beach to Hubbard Radio.
Terms of the sale are not yet disclosed. According to Alpha, a definitive sales contract has not yet been signed and is subject to satisfying any conditions contained in those agreements.
The move will impact some 105 individuals in the South Florida station group, which is comprised of one of Alpha’s most successful radio station: Hot AC ratings leader WRMF-FM 97.9, home of “The KVJ Show” morning program.
The station group also consists of Country WIRK-FM 103.1, which uses the Brooke & Jubal morning program in mornings; the show is based at Hubbard’s CHR/Pop KQMV-FM in Seattle.
The other stations in West Palm Beach Hubbard is getting from Alpha are Sports WMEN-AM 640, AC WEAT-FM “Sunny 107.9,” Urban AC WMBX-FM “X102.3,” Urban “Beatz 96.3” W242CI, which uses the WMBX HD2 signal, and Talk WFTL-AM 850.
The FMs in this six-station cluster are perhaps the crown jewel of the former Digity, which Alpha Media acquired in full for $264 million on August 5, 2015. It gave Alpha 116 stations in 26 markets, which were added to 137 stations already owned by Alpha — created by Larry Wilson.
The transaction closed on February 25, 2016. With the acquisition of Digity LLC, Alpha Media became the fourth-largest broadcast company in the country in both station count and market count.
It also became saddled with high debt leverage, something Alpha readily acknowledged in its late Tuesday announcement that it was parting ways with the former Digity’s best-performing stations.
WMEN-AM and WFTL-AM were added in February 2017 for $2 million, acquiring the stations from Mark Jorgensen’s ACM JCE IV B LLC following the bankruptcy of former owner James Crystal Enterprises.
The exit from West Palm Beach leaves Alpha with 213 stations in 46 markets around the country.
Hubbard has not publicly commented on the deal.
Hubbard owns stations in its home market of Minneapolis-St. Paul; Washington, D.C.; Seattle; Chicago; Phoenix; St. Louis; Cincinnati; and stations in four northern Minnesota municipalities.
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