Emmis Invests In Funkmaster Flex To Expand Personality Brands
Emmis is doubling-down on its investment in “Hot 97” WQHT New York nighttime personality/mixer Funkmaster Flex.
Flexco, run by Flex, will sell a 40% stake to Emmis. Flexco currently operates InFlexWeTrust.com, as well as sites for fellow WQHT personalities such as Angie Martinez’s TheAngieReview.com, Dj Enuff’s ThatsEnuff.com and one in development for Ebro Darden. The investment will see Flexco develop sites, apps and social networks for additional Emmis stations across the country.
Emmis Communications Corporation (Nasdaq: EMMS) has entered into a joint venture with Flexco, owned by popular Emmis personality Funkmaster Flex, to build a network of owned and operated digital platforms for Emmis’ biggest personalities.
One of radio’s most visible personalities, Flex has built a large online and mobile audience with InFlexWeTrust.com and the DJ Funk Flex Mobile app. Flex will be working with other personalities in New York and in other Emmis markets to develop similar digital footprints. Emmis plans to develop a network of sites, apps and social networks with the unique entertainment and news content young audiences and advertisers desire. Flex has already launched AngieReview.com for Angie Martinez, Afternoon Drive Personality on Hot97, ThatsEnuff.com for DJ Enuff on Hot 97 and is working on a digital project for Hot97’s morning show personality Ebro Darden.
“We’re thrilled to invest in Flex’s digital assets and work closely with him to continue to innovate in the digital space,” said Patrick Walsh, CFO, COO and Emmis Radio Division President. “Flex has built a successful mobile and online platform that reaches more than 5 million people monthly and he already has started work with other talented Emmis personalities at Hot 97 to expand their digital presence. We expect this partnership to enable us to rapidly expand our digital content offering for our passionate fans and advertisers.”
“Today’s digital world has changed how personalities and DJs interact with listeners and music fans,” Flex said. “We must reinvent ourselves to stay relevant and grow. I jumped in feet first to learn what it takes to create an audience online. The partnership with Emmis provides the foundation we need to turn our brands and personalities into a real digital business. The opportunity to share what I have learned is exciting, and our future lives in doing digital with our biggest brands and best personalities.”
While financial terms were not disclosed, the investment will give Emmis a 40% ownership in Flexco.
About Emmis Communications
Emmis Communications Corporation is a diversified media company, principally focused on radio broadcasting. Emmis operates the 9th largest radio portfolio in the United States based on total listeners. Emmis owns 18 FM and 3 AM radio stations in New York, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Austin (Emmis has a 50.1% controlling interest in Emmis’ radio stations located there), Indianapolis and Terre Haute, IN and operates two additional stations in New York (1 FM and 1 AM) pursuant to a Local Marketing Agreement (“LMA”) whereby Emmis provides the programming for these stations and sells all advertising within that programming pending its acquisition of the stations. In addition, one of the FM radio stations Emmis currently owns in New York is operated pursuant to a LMA by a third party.