By Roy Trakin
Emmis Communications has sold popular Los Angeles hip-hop radio station KPWR (Power 106) to the Meruelo Group for $82.75 million, pending FCC and other regulatory approvals of the assignment of the station’s broadcast license.
Emmis Chairman/CEO Jeff Smulyan made the announcement: “Power 106 has been part of the Emmis family for more than 32 years, so this day is bittersweet, but I am confident that the station and our team are in good hands. The Meruelo Group will be great owners of this historic brand, and take it to even greater heights.”
A Local Marketing Agreement (LMA) will begin promptly following the expiration or early termination of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act.
In March 2017, Power 106 (“Where Hip-Hop Lives”) was No. 15 in Nielsen ratings at 2.6 for Los Angeles, behind No. 13 iHearMedia’s KRRL (Real 92.3) with 2.7. While the former categorizes itself as a Rhythmic Top 40 and the latter as Urban, they’re largely battling for the same demographic.
The Meruelo Group, whose Meruelo Media affiliate acquired Los Angeles TV station KWHY-22 in 2011 and radio station KDAY-FM in 2014, is the largest minority-owned media group in California. Following its participation in the FCC TV spectrum auction earlier this year, Meruelo Media is now re-investing a portion of the auction proceeds into expanding its media portfolio with the acquisition.
Added Meruelo Group Chairman/CEO Alex Meruelo, “The acquisition of Power 106 is a game-changer for our group and our media division. As a fan and someone who has had a business relationship with this station for more than 30 years, I understand the importance of Power 106 to this community. We are committed to bringing the resources, talent and passion necessary to make this legendary brand the #1 radio station in Los Angeles.”
Meruelo Group is a privately held, diversified management company founded in 1986 by U.S. Latino business executive Alex Meruelo. The company owns a diversified portfolio of 35+ individual properties across seven primary industries with over 8,000 employees, including banking and financial services, construction, hospitality and gaming, media, restaurant food services, real estate management and development and private equity investing.
Emmis purchased KPWR-FM from Century Broadcasting in May 1984. The transaction is expected to close in the back half of 2017.