Friday, October 26, 2018

Suburban Radio Financial Drama

I'm not quite sure I can connect all the dots in this story, but maybe you can. It concerns two of the more popular suburban radio stations in Chicagoland. From Tom Taylor's NOW column...

Things are getting tense between Alpha Media and suburban-Chicago owner Matrix. In a new court action, Matrix alleges “misappropriating several hundred thousand dollars in advertising revenue” and piling up “millions of dollars in service-fee obligations.” Matrix filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March and wants the federal court to let it “reject” both the $50,000-per-month shared services deal with Alpha, and Alpha’s option to purchase its two stations. (AC “Star 105.5” WZSR Woodstock and Dundee-licensed classic rock “103.9 the Fox” WFXF.) Now Matrix files a new separate legal action against both Alpha and Digity, the stations’ previous owner. We learn that in 2014, when Digity was acquiring NextMedia but couldn’t take Star and Fox due to FCC limits, Peter Handy-run Matrix was set up to take the FMs – but only temporarily. The idea was to “facilitate the ultimate acquisition of the stations by Digity or designee within six to 12 months.” But that never happened, and Matrix says it’s been burdened by unrealistic fees and costs, and diversions of its cash. It claims that “Digity and Alpha have refused to permit Matrix to sell the stations to a third-party buyer.” In late 2014, veteran broker/operator Handy talked with “K-Love” parent EMF about selling Star for about $3 million. Then Handy would buy the Fox himself, for $1.5 million. The suit says Digity offered some conditions to agree, then backed out. No response in court yet from Alpha.