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Cumulus Media Sells Off Six Stations to K-LOVE Christian Radio Owner EMF, Including New York’s 95.5 PLJ

Cumulus Media Inc. announced on Wednesday a combo of portfolio moves that sells six radio stations to Educational Media Foundation and swaps three stations with Entercom Communications Corp.

Cumulus Media Inc. announced on Wednesday a combo of portfolio moves that sells six radio stations to Educational Media Foundation (EMF) and swaps three stations with Entercom Communications Corp.

The EMF deal totaled $103.5 million in cash, delivering the contemporary Christian music nonprofit EMF stations WYAY-FM in Atlanta, WPLJ-FM in New York City, KFFG-FM in San Jose, California, WZAT-FM in Savannah, Georgia, WXTL-FM in Syracuse, New York, and WRQX-FM in Washington, DC. In the agreement, EMF will acquire all transmission equipment and assume all tower leases associated with the stations. The six stations collectively contribute approximately $5 million to $7 million of earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization to Cumulus, annually, the company reports.

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Notably for consumers, EMF’s acquisition means format changes for all these stations. WPLJ in New York (95.5 PLJ) has previously broadcast adult contemporary music, KFFG (97.7 KFOG) in San Jose simulcast sister station KFOG in San Francisco’s adult album alternative music, and WZAT (102.1 The Sound) in Savannah plays hot AC, for instance.

The transactions are expected to close early summer 2019 and will bring the number of K-LOVE radio signals to 564 nationally, with markets including Philadelphia, Miami, Los Angeles, San Antonio, Chicago and Seattle.

“We are thrilled to add these stations to the K-LOVE network and for the opportunity to continue to bring people closer to Jesus,” said Alan Mason, EMF president and interim CEO, in a statement. “Our mission is to create compelling media that inspires and encourages listeners to have a meaningful relationship with Christ. These are legendary stations that will enable us to enter new markets in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Savannah and Syracuse and expand our footprint in New York.”

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Cumulus also announced it has entered into a swap agreement with Entercom, under which Cumulus will obtain three stations in Indianapolis in exchange for three Cumulus stations in two markets. The deal lifts Cumulus to the leading ratings position in Indianapolis, adding WNTR-FM, WXNT-AM and WZPL-FM to its portfolio. In return, Entercom receives WNSH-FM in New York City and WMAS-FM and WHLL-AM, both in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Each party will commence a local marketing agreement to program the other party’s stations beginning March 1.

“These transactions are consistent with our portfolio optimization strategy and both deals are accretive,” said Mary G. Berner, president and CEO of Cumulus Media, in a statement. “The Entercom swap significantly bolsters our competitive position in Indianapolis and the EMF transaction generates substantial cash for debt repayment and investment in other business opportunities.”