Sinclair selling station in Calif. for $21 million Spanish-language chain gets KBLA-AM

Broadcasting

May 27, 1998|By Mark Ribbing | Mark Ribbing,SUN STAFF

Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. of Baltimore said yesterday that it is selling a Los Angeles radio station for $21 million in cash.

Sinclair is selling KBLA-AM to Radio Unica Corp., a Spanish-language radio broadcasting company based in Miami.

The deal is subject to Justice Department and Federal Communications Commission approval, and is expected to close the third quarter.

As it has grown into one of the nation's largest radio and television groups, Sinclair has focused on acquiring clusters of stations in medium-sized markets. KBLA, located in the nation's second largest market, did not fit this strategy.

Patrick J. Talamantes, Sinclair's director of corporate finance, said KBLA "generated nice profits for Sinclair, but it wasn't strategic in any way. It was the only station we had in that market."

Talamantes said the money from the sale will go toward paying down debt that Sinclair has accumulated during its recent flurry of radio and television station acquisitions.

Radio Unica said acquiring KBLA would give it a higher profile in a key Spanish-speaking market.

"It increases our coverage in that area. That's very important to us," said Radio Unica spokeswoman Nickie Jurado.

KBLA currently broadcasts Korean-language programming. Radio Unica, which already owns a smaller station in Los Angeles, plans to switch KBLA to a Spanish-language format.

In a separate transaction, Sinclair said yesterday that it has closed the sale of Nashville, Tenn., radio stations WLAC-FM, WJZC-FM and WLAC-AM to SFX Broadcasting Inc. The $35 million deal was announced in August.

Talamantes said the three Nashville radio stations "didn't have the competitive market position we wanted to have in that market, and were therefore more valuable to the buyers than they were to us."

Pub Date: 5/27/98

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