Merlin Deal Axed, But Mancow Talks Pause Process


A put-and-call agreement giving Cumulus Media ownership of WKQX-FM “Q101” and WLUP-FM in Chicago has been terminated. However, the court adjourned until Feb. 8 so Merlin Media may resolve a talent agreement with veteran air personality Mancow Muller.

As reported by Streamline Publishing’s Radio INK, Cumulus is operating Q101 and WLUP under a LMA and will continue to do so … for now.

Cumulus agreed to pay Merlin a monthly LMA fee of $600,000. That has been reduced to $15,000 per month for “reimbursement costs.” Concurrently, Judge Chapman approved a LMA extension to April 30, with options to extend the LMA to July 31 and October 31.

The extensions are designed to allow Merlin to find a buyer or assume control of WLUP and Q101 outright.

As RBR+TVBR reported Jan. 18, Atlanta-based Cumulus determined “the legacy terms to acquire WKQX-FM and WLUP-FM in Chicago for approximately $50 million is significantly in excess of the stations’ market value.”

Cumulus asked the bankruptcy court to nullify the deal as the stations have lost $8.4 million since 2014 and were no longer worth $50 million, the price Cumulus was handed when the put-and-call option was executed.

— Additional reporting by Adrian Zupp