Cumulus Converts Chicago LMAs To Purchase

Troy Hanson PJ Kling 101 WKQX Chicago Cumulus Media Program DirectorCumulus Media is converting its LMA of Classic Rock “97.9 The Loop” WLUP and Alternative “101 WKQX” 101.1 WKQX Chicago from Merlin Media into an outright purchase.

Cumulus will pay the greater of $70 million minus the aggregate amount of LMA fees or $50 million for the two stations as it exercised the put and call agreement within ninety days of the fourth anniversary of the LMA. Cumulus began operating WKQX and WLUP on January 3, 2014. The two stations join News/Talk 890 WLS and Classic Hits 94.7 WLS-FM in Cumulus’ Chicago clustr.

The deal marks the end of Randy Michaels’ Merlin Media, which was formed in 2011 with the purchase of these two stations and 101.9 WRXP New York from Emmis and quickly flipped WKQX and WRXP to its ill-fated “FM News” programming. Merlin would sell 101.9 New York to CBS Radio in October 2012 and 106.9 WWIQ Philadelphia to EMF in 2013 after it had ended the All-News content in July 2012.

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Lance Venta is the Owner and Publisher of RadioInsight.com and a consultant for RadioBB Networks specializing in integration of radio and the internet. Lance has two decades of experience tracking the audio industry and its use of digital platforms.

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