iHeart Puts Its Trust In Drake

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After “40 years and 40,000 sales calls,” life as a radio broadcasting industry consultant for a former station owner has taken a new turn. As of today, he is now the sole member of a newly created entity poised to assume control of two divestiture trusts most recently overseen by the late Jeanette Tully.


Paperwork has been filed with the FCC that not only pass these two licensees to Barry Drake, but also a newly formed third divestment trust that is comprised of two radio stations. 

Before authoring a book reflecting on his four decades in radio broadcasting, Drake served as President/CEO of Jacksonville-based Backyard Broadcasting. 

Backyard sold its assets in 2013. In May of that year, it sold stations in New York’s Twin Tiers to Bruce Mittman and Jim Leven’s Community Broadcasters in a $3.6 million deal brokered by Kalil & Co., and divested a 2 AM, 4 FM cluster in Muncie, Ind., to Woof Boom Radio for $4.5 million. In August 2013, Kalil then helped Backyard sell its six-station and one translator station cluster in Williamsport, Pa., to a local group led by Dan Farr for $5.5 million.

Now, Drake — who was also the Television CEO of Sinclair Broadcasting Corp. from 1999-2001 following a run as its Radio CEO and, before that, Radio COO — is assuming control of the Aloha Station Trust and the newer Ocean Station Trust.

Drake’s duties were previously held by Tully, who passed away September 11 in Nashville, where she lived.

Tully had overseen the 42-station Aloha Trust since 2008. The trust is comprised of iHeart stations signaled for divestment from previous transactions dating to when the company was known as Clear Channel.

In November 2017, Tully was also put in control of the Ocean Station Trust, a divestiture trust that saw the shift of two iHeartMedia-owned FMs in the Seattle market and one AM serving Boston in order for the company to complete an asset swap with Entercom.

Upon Tully’s passing, control was involuntary passed to her estate. The estate is now transferring Ocean and Aloha to respective newly created entities.

An engagement agreement dated October 3 formally creates the Aloha Station Trust II, codified between this entity and iHeart.

In this trust are the following stations:

Concurrently, the newly formed Ocean Station Trust II will be comprised of the following stations:

  • WKOX-AM in Everett, Mass.
  • KFNY-FM in Centralia, Wash.
  • KTDD-FM in Eatonville, Wash.

The third entity, Sun and Snow Station Trust LLC, will see the direct assignment to this entity from iHeartRadio of two properties:

  • Class C1 KSNR-FM 100.3 in Fisher, Minn., serving the Grand Forks, N. Dakota, market.
  • Class C2 WHFX-FM 107.7 in Darien, Ga., serving Brunswick, Ga.

It was previously reported that KSNR and WHFX would be divested by iHeart as part of its efforts to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. As a “new” company will be coming out of debtor-in-possession status, iHeart will be losing its grandfathered status allowing for ownership of these stations. Keeping them would place a reconstituted iHeart over FCC market limits.

Drake as an individual through “Digital Drake LLC” is the sole member of this trust.

Drake’s radio resumé stretches back to the former WIFI-FM 92.3 in Philadelphia, where he led local direct sales some 40 years ago. He later served as the head of national sales for 100 Cox stations in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., and from 1983-1984 was VP/GM of WKJN in Baton Rouge for Keymarket Communications.

Drake rose to Keymarket President/COO in 1988 and held the role through July 1995. He then moved to St. Louis to oversee River City Broadcasting; its assets were sold to Sinclair.