Five months to the day that The E.W. Scripps Co. revealed that it was placing all of its radio stations up for sale, the soon-to-be visual media-focused media company has revealed who is purchasing its four FMs and KFAQ-AM 1170 in Tulsa.
The answer? A privately held media company focused on Oklahoma that’s based in Oklahoma City.
Kalil & Co. was the broker in this deal.
The five radio stations in Tulsa are being sold to Griffin Communications for $12.5 million.
Along with News/Talk KFAQ, Oklahoma City-based Griffin is Muskogee-licensed CHR/Pop KHTT-FM 106.9 “KHits,” Country siblings KVOO-FM 98.5 and KXBL-FM 99.5 and Adult Hits KBEZ-FM 92.9 “Bob FM.”
The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter.
The sale is the first in what Scripps expects to be a series of radio sale transactions. The company announced in January its intent to sell all its radio stations. Including the Tulsa stations, Scripps’ portfolio includes 34 radio stations in eight markets.
RBR+TVBR hears that Scripps is very close to an agreement to divest its stations in two Mountain West markets.
“Griffin Communications has a long history of serving Oklahomans through a multiplatform approach to news and entertainment,” said Scripps President/CEO Adam Symson. “We believe our Tulsa radio stations and their employees are a natural fit for Griffin and its vision. In addition, this transaction is a promising start to the sale of our entire radio station group, which was one of the pillars of our strategy for returning value to shareholders. We expect more announcements soon.”
What is Griffin Communications?
Scripps describes Griffin as a privately held multimedia company with a focus on Oklahoma. It owns and operates four television stations:
- KWTV-9 in Oklahoma City, a CBS affiliate
- KSBI-52 in Oklahoma City, a MyNetwork TV affiliate
- KOTV-6 in Tulsa, a CBS affiliate
- KQCW-19 in Tulsa, an affiliate of The CW
Also in Griffin’s stable are the 9 Outdoor and 6 Outdoor out-of-home advertising entities, Griffin Tower Company, and Griffin Digital Solutions.
MEET THE GRIFFINS
“A third-generation Oklahoman, David is not your typical CEO,” says the biography for President/CEO David Griffin. “Approachable, engaging, enjoyable and very active in the business, David focuses on strategic issues, competitive challenges and makes a point of meeting one-on-one with advertisers across the state. Additionally, he maintains an extremely open door policy for all employees and can often be found sharing strategy and results with team members.
“David is active in the development and growth of Oklahoma, he sits on numerous boards, is a member of the Young Presidents Organization and he and his wife Kirsten are involved in many charitable causes. David can often be found shuttling kids between soccer, football, basketball and other athletic activities as well as hiking and seeking new adventures.”
Promising that “you won’t find anywhere else quite like it,” Griffin notes on the homepage to its corporate website that it puts people first and is committed “to keeping Oklahomans safe, informed and entertained. It starts with David and Kirsten Griffin of Oklahoma City and John and Ashley Griffin of Tulsa, local owners with deep roots and commitment to Oklahoma.”
Griffin Communications has been serving Oklahoma communities for more than 55 years and the family’s media roots can be traced to the 1930 — with the ownership of AM radio stations.
“Television changed everything” when KWTV-9 signed on the air on Dec. 20, 1953.
Since then, Griffin has laid claim to the world’s tallest broadcast tower, at 1,565 feet; debuting before any other station the first commercial Doppler radar; and having KWTV become the first station to gather video from cellular telephones, capturing pictures of a large tornado east of Enid, Okla.
This deal marks the first major transaction to be proposed following the FCC’s discontinuation of its prohibition on cross-ownership of a TV and/or newspaper with radio stations in a given market.
Asked for comment, Griffin VP/Marketing Houston Hunt declined to discuss the topic, only noting, “We are extremely excited about adding the Tulsa Scripps Radio group to our company.”
In prepared comments sent to RBR+TVBR, David Griffin added, “They are an excellent group of stations with a great team and are a natural fit … Combining radio with our TV stations, billboards, websites and digital products deepens our commitment to the Tulsa market, and provides us an unmatched footprint.”