Yes, It Is Too Early to Say the Floodgates Are Open, but…

Thus far, 2011 is revealing some notable announced transactions that could be signs of renewed interest in buying radio and television stations. The BIA/Kelsey monthly transactions report, which details the number of stations sold and their value, shows a marked increase in the month of January. Is it a sign that the station trading marketplace is about to bounce back?

One group transaction, the sale of 17 radio stations from Bonneville to Hubbard Broadcasting, makes up a large percentage of the total value of radio stations sold to date this year. Nevertheless, the fact that one company was willing to invest such a large sum of money in radio stations is a real sign of renewed confidence. The acquisition of Cumulus Media Partners by Cumulus Broadcasting, of the share it did not own already, is also another positive sign.

With this good start, will the rest of the year work out as well? As banks and other financial institutions “loosen” their purse strings, and the industries show continued strength, station transactions should continue to increase. Many station owners who have wanted to sell in recent years may now get the opportunity, although probably not at the prices they have dreamed about a few years ago. Of course, at BIA/Kelsey we will continue to monitor these transactions, reporting monthly and year-to-date totals — just click on http://www.bia.com/Research-and-Forecasts/Broadcast-Media-Resources/Media-Trends/ to see the latest information.

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