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.