INSIDE RADIO – Connoisseur poised to take Nassau’s remaining stations – including crown jewel WPST.
Jeff Warshaw’s Connoisseur Media has struck a deal to buy the 10 remaining Nassau Broadcasting stations in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including the company’s top billing CHR WPST, Trenton, NJ (94.5). If a Delaware court approves, Connoisseur could begin operating the stations as soon as next week.
The stations were put up for auction in May, but debtholders Goldman Sachs, Fortress Capital and P.E. Capital retained the assets after no buyers did better than their $38.7 million credit bid. Connoisseur will assume that bid to buy the stations. The debtholders had other offers, but none as appealing. At the May auction Townsquare Media offered $16 million for WPST alone and Cumulus Media offered to buy classic hits “99.9 The Hawk” WODE-FM for $3 million to fill-out its Allentown, PA cluster. Connoisseur will get those two stations and eight others.
In Trenton it picks up religious WCHR (920) to go along with WPST. In the Allentown market besides WODE-FM Connoisseur also buys rock “107.1 The Bone” WWYY, sports “ESPN Radio 1230” WEEX and its simulcast WTKZ (1320), and religious “The Light 1160” WBYN. In the Wilkes Barre-Scranton market it gets hot AC WSBG (93.5) and talk WVPO (840). And Connoisseur gets the Spanish sports standalone WNJE, Flemington, NJ (1040).
The debtholders will go before U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Kevin Gross next week in Delaware asking that he clear Connoisseur to begin operating the stations under local marketing agreement until the sale closes. Connoisseur will pay LMA fees ranging from $100,000 to $500,000 a month depending on how long that process takes. It’s the second big ticket deal for Warshaw this year. In March he bought Barnstable Broadcasting’s four Nassau stations in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont to investment banker Bill Binnie and Great Eastern Radio CEO Jeff Shapiro who jointly bid $12.5 million is expected to close by the end of this week.