Hubbard buys Sandusky Radio


Hubbard RadioHubbard Radio has entered into an asset purchase agreement to acquire 10 stations from Sandusky Radio for $85.5 million. The acquisition adds five stations in Seattle and five in Phoenix. The deal will end Sandusky’s 36-year history as a radio broadcaster and allow it to concentrate on the continuing digital transformation of its local print and online newspaper and marketing franchises.

“This is an exciting opportunity to expand Hubbard Radio into two top 20 markets,” said Virginia (Ginny) Morris, board chair of Hubbard Radio. “We have known and respected the Rau/White family, Sandusky’s owners, for many years. We admire what they have accomplished and we are honored that they would agree to sell us these established stations. We are committed to maintaining the dedication to excellence and to community that Sandusky has made such an important part of their radio operations.”

RBR-TVBR asked Morris: 1) We think it’s great that no one will lose their jobs over this buy. Why did you decide to make that clear in this announcement?

“We think it’s important for the Sandusky employees to know that we recognize their significant contribution toward the success of the stations.”

2)  Any plans to try an all-news FM in these markets, a la WTOP DC?

“No, we do not have any plans for a ‘TOP like’ station in either of these markets.”

The five Seattle stations are: KIXI-AM 880; 92.5 KQMV-FM; 1150 KKNW-AM; 106.9 KRWM-FM; and 98.9 KLCK-FM. The five Phoenix stations are: 100.7 KSLX-FM; 97.9 KUPD-FM; 93.3 KDKB-FM; 1440 KAZG-AM; and 1060 KDUS-AM.

Said Bruce Reese, Hubbard Radio CEO: “Hubbard is excited about the chance to add these great stations to our existing operations in Chicago, Washington, DC, Minneapolis/St. Paul, St. Louis and Cincinnati. Sandusky runs very successful radio stations, and we plan on continuing that precedent. We look forward to working with our new colleagues.”

Through the acquisition, Hubbard Radio will add 65 to 70 full time employees in each of the two markets. Reese said he expects no programming or personnel changes for any of the acquired stations. Hubbard Radio currently employs approximately 600 full-time employees.

Commented Norman Rau, president of Sandusky Radio: “Hubbard Radio, a private family-owned business, holds very similar values as our business. Hubbard has nine family members directly involved in the Hubbard companies. We believe the future of our listeners, employees and our customers could not be in better hands. As a significantly larger broadcasting company, Hubbard can give the Sandusky stations a potential for growth and scale that Sandusky on its own just could not give them.”

Morgan Stanley is acting as financial advisors to Hubbard Radio in connection with the transaction and has issued commitments to provide debt financing for the acquisition.