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Radio Leads Broadcast M&A Activity This Year

Top TV deal of Q3 was in Palm Springs

With a helping push from a notable radio deal, volume of U.S. broadcast station mergers and acquisitions reached about $190 million in the third quarter, according to estimates from media research group Kagan.

Taking TV and radio deals together, Kagan said, Q3 had the lowest quarterly deal volume of the year. Yet the radio segment on its own, while still far from the go-go days of consolidation, has been busier this year than most of the past decade.

The quarter saw $123 million in radio deals, almost half of which came in a sale to Educational Media Foundation of three FMs that Entercom Communications shed as part of its pending merger with CBS Radio.

Radio also had a $19.5 million sale of four AM and 14 FM stations plus two translators in Georgia and the Carolinas by Alpha Media LLC to Dick Broadcasting Co. And there were 10 other radio transactions between $1 million and $7 million. As shown in the accompanying graphic, radio M&A is approaching its biggest year in a decade after only three quarters.

On the TV side, total quarterly deal volume was $66.6 million. The top deal of the quarter had OTA Broadcasting (PSP) LLC selling two stations in Palm Springs, Calif., to Entravision Communications Corp for $21 million.

EVINE Live Inc. sold TV station WWDP in Boston to WRNN-TV Associates Limited Partnership for $10 million. It also entered into a $3.5 million channel-sharing deal with WMFP, allowing NRJ TV to operate the station on one-third of WWDP’s spectrum, Kagan said.

London Broadcasting sold KTXD in Dallas to Cunningham Broadcasting Corp., a local marketing agreement partner of Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc., for $9.5 million. Southern California License LLC sold KAZA in the Los Angeles market to Weigel Broadcasting Co. for $9 million. KAZA, which in April sold its spectrum in the incentive auction, entered a channel-sharing agreement with KHTV-CD, owned by Venture Technologies Group LLC.

Kagan is part of S&P Global Market Intelligence.