The construction of Merlin Media


Merlin MediaYou don’t have to dig very far back in the history books to reconstruct the emergence of Merlin Media. It is the product of two deals, the earliest of which took place just over a year ago.

Word has leaked out that the four-station group is being shopped around, and it has already been disputed by Merlin’s Randy Michaels in a tersely-worded statement. He told RBR-TVBR “Merlin is not for sale.”

The key building block of the young group was the acquisition of WRXP-FM in New York; and WIQI-FM and WLUP-FM in Chicago. The stations were acquired from Emmis Communications, which continued to hold a minor stake in them, in a deal with an estimated value of $198M. It was filed with the FCC 6/28/11. WIQI was using call letters WKQX at the time of the sale.

The other deal was a pure stick transaction. Merlin acquired WWIQ-FM Philadelphia (WKDN-FM at the time) from Family Stations for $22.5M.

That puts the total investment in stations at $220.5M.

WRXP is using an Alternative format; WIQI is Adult Hits and WLIP is Classic Rock; and WWIQ is a Talker.

RBR-TVBR observation: Seriously, folks – there is nothing new about the concept of taking troubled or under-performing radio properties, building their value and then selling for a profit. But – and we have to add the word duhhhhhhhhhh here – you have to give it time.

If you can reformat major market stations and make them local leaders in one year, you can probably also turn clouds into cotton candy, teach pigs to actually speak Latin and restore the price of gas to less than a dollar a gallon. You have no business wasting your time on relatively trivial pursuits such as radio programming.

And if you are an investment firm that believes such a turnaround is possible, you probably should be investing in some other field.

It all makes us inclined to believe Randy Michaels’ tersely-worded statement.