Sinclair to sell 3 radio stations New Orleans outlets to be sold to follow FCC rules, firm says

Broadcasting

March 20, 1998|By Mark Ribbing | Mark Ribbing,SUN STAFF

Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. announced yesterday that it was selling three New Orleans radio stations to Centennial Broadcasting LLC for $16 million. The sale is subject to approval by the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice, and is expected to close within four months.

David Amy, chief financial officer for Baltimore-based Sinclair, said the company is selling the stations "just to comply with regulations," including FCC rules on how many stations one broadcaster can hold in a single market.

The stations being sold are WRNO-FM, KMEZ-FM and WBYU-AM. Of these, Sinclair currently owns only KMEZ. It is still awaiting federal approval to complete its acquisition of WRNO and WBYU, which it bought from Heritage Media Group last July as part of a $630 million multi-station package.

Sinclair will hold onto another New Orleans station that it is buying from the Heritage deal, WEZB-FM.

Amy said he expected approval of the Heritage sale to come soon, possibly within 30 days. When all of the pending acquisitions and sales are completed, Sinclair will own or program six radio stations in New Orleans.

The deal marks a major expansion for privately owned Centennial Broadcasting, a Winston-Salem, N.C.-based company that was founded last June. Centennial owns two radio stations in Las Vegas and one in Florida.

"We're so small that this addition practically doubles the size of the company," said Centennial's president and chief executive officer, Allen Shaw. "We're just starting out. We hope to grow in the next few years and have stations in as many markets as we can get into."

Pub Date: 3/20/98

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