Hot 97 Owner Emmis Communications Buys WBLS For $130 Million
Emmis Communications, the company that owns New York’s Hot 97, has acquired another major radio station in the region after purchasing WBLS for $130 million. With the purchase of WBLS, along with a popular AM station, Emmis will now own the second-ranked radio station in the city.
Billboard reported on the acquisition, which was announced yesterday (February 13). Emmis paid outright cash for the purchase of WBLS 107.5 FM and WLIB 1190 AM, the latter being the city’s first station targeted towards Black listeners. Billboard has more.
Emmis is expected to assume control of the stations on March 1 through a Local Marketing Agreement (LMA). The actual purchase of the station will take part in two stages — $55 million following the expected FCC approval of the sale later this year, and approximately $76 million in February 2015.
For WBLS and WLIB, the sale is the official end of an era as one of the most prominent African-American-owned media entities. Shortly before the WBLS/Kiss deal, YMF Media, whose principals included Magic Johnson, assumed control from longtime owner Inner City Broadcasting
As far as corporate restructuring in the new deal, only Hot 97 SVP/GM Alexandra Cameron will be leaving the company. WLIB/WBLS GM Deon Levingston will remain in his position in overseeing the stations in addition to Hot 97.