The rumors were true: New Rock 101.9 was never in it for the long haul as investors apparently want out. CBS snaps it up at a fire sale price to make for an FM home for legendary sports talker…
Word was that Merlin’s financial backers, Chicago hedge fund GTCR, wanted out, and was seeking buyers for all Merlin stations.
Merlin is now one station lighter with the sale to CBS for what appears to be a paltry $75 million. That number, which recalls pre-consolidation era pricing, is bound to elicit a collective groan from brokers. If a full-market FM can be had in Market #1 for $75m, the value of virtually every other FM in the country just took a hit.
Interestingly, the $75 million figure has been floated in association with the station since Emmis started shopping it around 2009.
CBS smartly grabbed the signal to stay competitive with ESPN, which just months ago abandoned 1050 AM for 98.7 FM. 1050 became ESPN Deportes.
With New York now having two FM sports-talkers, the move may signal an acceleration of dropping music formats for talk on FMs throughout the country.