There are several notable changes today to the FM radio ownership landscape in the City of Brotherly Love.
Entercom Communications has agreed to acquire Philadelphia adult contemporary station WBEB(FM) from Jerry Lee Radio LLC for $57.5 million in cash.
Lee’s station — currently branded as 101.1 MORE FM and ranked first in Nielsen’s June topline ratings (AQH Share for Persons 6+, Mon-Sun 6 a.m.-midday) — has been recognized in the radio industry over the past decade or more as an instance of an increasingly rare bird: an FM signal in a major market that remained independently owned. Now it’s part of the nation’s second largest radio chain. It also has been a consistent award winner, including multiple years as NAB's Marconi Award recipient as Major-Market Station of the Year.
Meanwhile, in order to comply with FCC regs, Entercom plans to sell country outlet WXTU(FM) to Beasley Broadcast Group for $38 million in cash. WXTU was ranked sixth in June in the . This brings WXTU back to Beasley; CEO Caroline Beasley noted that the company launched the station’s country format in 1983 and operated it until a 2014 exchange agreement with CBS Radio, which later merged into Entercom.
Philly is ranked as Market No. 9 by Nielsen; it has an estimated metro population age 12+ of 4.6 million people.
Entercom operates five other stations there: WOGL(FM), KYW(AM), WIP(FM), WPHT(AM) and WTDY(FM). Beasley’s presence in the market consists of WMFK(FM), WTEL(AM), WMMR(FM), WBEN(FM), WPEN(FM) and WWDB(AM).
Beasley will begin operating WXTU under a local marketing agreement on July 23, the broadcasters say. That deal is projected to close in Q3, pending FCC approval. Beasley intends to fund the acquisition through borrowings under its credit facility and cash generated from operations.
According to the announcement, Entercom was advised on the transaction by MVP Capital LLC, and Methuselah Advisors acted as advisor to WBEB(FM).
Jerry Lee has had a remarkable career both in and outside of radio (read more here).