Every radio and television station has a tower. But not all stations own their tower. Some broadcasters have discovered that it can be financially advantageous to sell the tower and let someone else deal with the business, regulatory and maintenance issues, while continuing to lease back the space you need for your own station's transmitting antenna.
"I think typically it comes back what the motivation is of the broadcaster. In some cases tower owners, whether its broadcasters or wireless carriers, sell towers specifically to pay down debt. In other cases it becomes a negotiation between the borrower, being the broadcaster, and the lender as to how much of the proceeds of the sale can go for paying down debt versus it going into operating capital or acquisitions, or whatever. I think it all depends on the motivation of the seller themselves and flexibility of the lender," explained Clayton Funk, who has been brokering tower sales with Media Venture Partners since 2004.
He told us that demand by tower companies is good for both TV and FM towers, where there is potential to lease space to more tenants, such as wireless telecom companies. There is less demand, though, for AM towers, because it is such an engineering challenge to add other users.