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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended June 25, 2000
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Sent on Mormon-News: 23Jun00

Summarized by Kent Larsen

LDS Church's Bonneville Communications Swaps LA Station for 4 in St. Louis
(EMMIS Settles Sinclair; Swaps for Second L.A. Radio Station)
PRNewswire 22Jun00 B3
Deal with Bonneville gives EMMIS 2 FMs in Los Angeles

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA -- The LDS Church's broadcast arm Bonneville Communications has signed a letter of intent to swap its Los Angeles radio station KZLA-FM to Emmis Communications for four stations in St. Louis, Missouri. The deal leaves Bonneville without a station in Los Angeles, the nation's #2 radio market, but gives it four stations in St. Louis, considered a top twenty radio market.

The swap makes sense because of changes in US federal regulations governing ownership of radio stations. A Federal Communications Corp. rules change, which raised the limit on the number of radio stations that a single company could own in a single market, has led to a consolidation among radio stations, with companies concentrating their holdings into more stations in fewer markets.

Bonneville has also actively sought to consolidate its holdings into fewer markets, dumping stations in New York City, Texas and elsewhere to concentrate its holdings in a dozen stations in Chicago, San Francisco, Washington, DC, Salt Lake City, Cedar City, Utah and now St. Louis. Many back-office tasks for radio stations, such as selling advertising and managing transmission equipment can be consolidated when a company owns several stations in a market, leading to significantly lower costs.

Bonneville president and chief executive officer Bruce Reese says that the arrangement is better for Bonneville. He says owning four stations in St. Louis, is "more compatible with our growth plans than the stand-alone station in Los Angeles. We look forward to consolidating the four stations in a single operations center."

The deal solves two simultaneous problems for Emmis, a publicly-traded company based in Indianapolis. It helps Emmis resolve a dispute with Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc., over an option to acquire Sinclair stations that Ennis acquired from a former Sinclair executive. It also gives Emmis two radio stations in Los Angeles, putting it in a much better competitive position in that market.

As with virtually all deals involving radio stations, the arrangement is subject to the approval of the FCC, which is expected within the next 60 days.


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