Cumulus Sells WABC New York To Red Apple Media

770 WABC New York Fox News Channel Brian Kilmeade Ben Shapiro Michael SavageCumulus Media has announced the sale of Conservative Talk 770 WABC New York to Red Apple Media for $12.5 million.

Red Apple Media is a subsidiary of billionaire John Catsimatidis’ Red Apple Group which includes holdings in real estate, oil refineries, supermarkets and the Hellenic Times newspaper. Catsimatidis was a longtime donor and supporter of the Clintons but ran for mayor of New York in 2013 as a Republican.

Catsimatidis also hosts a weekly show on Sunday mornings for Salem Media Conservative Talk “970 The Answer” WNYM Hackensack NJ that also airs in Long Island, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Tampa, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, and Syracuse.

In a brief statement Catsimatidis said, “I am very pleased that Red Apple Media Inc. has agreed to acquire 77 WABC Radio. The station is a real New York legend with a rich history in broadcasting. I started a radio show five years ago which is now available in 14 states and on the internet. It has gained a large and loyal audience. Our purchase of 77 WABC Radio is the next step in building a new broadcasting business, and we look forward to considering the acquisition of more broadcasting assets. We plan to retain the excellent staff and talent working at the station now and look forward to working with them.”

The sale of WABC follows Cumulus’ sales of 94.7 WNSH to Entercom and 95.5 WPLJ New York to Educational Media Foundation. Cumulus retains only Urban AC “Radio 103.9” WNBM Bronxville NY from its New York cluster.

Cumulus Media Inc. [NASDAQ: CMLS] (the “Company,” “Cumulus,” “we,” “us,” or “our”) today announced that it has entered into an agreement to sell WABC (AM) in New York City to Red Apple Media, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Red Apple Group, for $12.5 million in cash.

Mary G. Berner, President and Chief Executive Officer of Cumulus, said, “Today’s agreement with Red Apple is yet another step in the execution of our portfolio optimization priority to drive Cumulus’s long-term success. Consistent with our financial goals, we intend to use the sale’s net cash proceeds to pay down debt and invest in the Company to better serve our 250 million listeners and the advertisers who want to reach them. We are also pleased that WABC’s excellent team will work with Red Apple following the transaction’s close to continue building this iconic station’s legacy.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Red Apple will take responsibility for programming WABC immediately following the close of the sale, which is expected to occur in the third quarter of 2019. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approval.

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  1. Nathan Obral says

    For John Catsimatidis, he seriously overpaid for WABC. $12.5M is way too much, given it’s obvious revenue and ratings issues (having to broker out their entire weekend lineup counts as a big red flag).

    For Cumulus, they were lucky to sell it for $12.5M.

    1. Nathan Obral says

      But to add to this, JC is a billionaire, he paid in cash for WABC. So it doesn’t matter that he overpaid. He strikes me as a Moses Znamier or a Saul Levine, people who own radio stations even though they don’t need to and program them to their own tastes without fear of losing money. They just love radio.

      If there is any hope for the talk radio format, it’s probably with an owner like JC rather than a chain owner like iHeart or Cumulus. It probably won’t work in the long run because WABC’s ratings deteriorated so badly in recent years, but low ratings or ratings outside of key demos haven’t stopped or impeded KSUR or CFZM.

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