Scripps Places Radio Group Up For Sale

Scripps Radio Milwaukee WTMJ Tucson Boise OmahaE.W. Scripps Co. has announced that as part of a restructuring to yield more than $30 million in cost savings that it has retained Kalil & Co. to broker the sale of its 34 radio stations.

Scripps had acquired the radio operations of Journal Communications as part of its 2014 merger. The company owns stations in the Boise, Knoxville, Milwaukee, Omaha, Springfield MO, Tucson, Tulsa, and Wichita markets.

The E.W. Scripps Co. (NYSE: SSP) is creating a stronger, more streamlined and higher-performing company through comprehensive restructuring and cost reductions expected to yield more than $30 million in annual cost savings.

The company also plans to sell its 34 radio stations and has retained Kalil & Co., Inc. to handle the process.

“Today, Scripps is a dynamic leader in the media industry through its strong local TV station portfolio, its growing multicast network, its national news network and its podcasting business,” Scripps President and CEO Adam Symson said. “The enterprise-wide restructuring positions us well for continued growth while maintaining high-quality journalism as our central focus.”

During third-quarter 2017, the company began its restructuring work with a $2.4 million restructuring charge. The company will take a restructuring charge of $2 million in the fourth quarter, estimates a $4 million charge in the first quarter and expects to take smaller quarterly charges into 2019.

The annual cost savings are driven by reductions in head count and operating expenses over the next 12-18 months. These include centralization of services and technology; sharing of resources; elimination of redundant positions and services; and other expense reductions.

Another component of the company’s performance-improvement plan is its high priority on configuring a more durable TV station portfolio during this period of changing local market regulations.

“This plan is consistent with our goal to create both short-term and long-term value by improving margins and cash flow in our local media business and supporting the growth of our national businesses,” said Symson. “Our restructuring analysis also led us to determine the time is right to find a new owner for our radio group that can provide the focus and resources the stations and their creative, devoted employees deserve.”

  1. Eric Jon Magnuson says

    This is particularly sad given how much effort Journal put into building radio/TV clusters in Omaha, Boise, and Tucson. (Milwaukee, of course, has the heritage cluster–while Tulsa has somewhat of a recombination of an earlier combo that was a happy byproduct of the Scripps/Journal merger.)

    In terms of who’d try to buy these stations, I’d look first to Entercom–even though it might not want to purchase stations in all of the markets. At the very least, though, it’d probably go for the Milwaukee stations (and probably wouldn’t change WTMJ’s calls)–and may also want to swap in order to strengthen its Wichita cluster (by trying to add, for starters, KFDI).

  2. kent says

    I’m a little concerned for my friends at Scripps. After all, Lew Dickey is sitting on a ton of dry powder…

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