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'News: US Media Owner Emmis Communications Seeks Entry To UK Local Commercial Radio Sector' by Grant Goddard


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News story about plans of US media owner Emmis Communications Inc. to enter the UK commercial radio sector through local FM radio licence applications and potential acquisitions, written by Grant Goddard in August 2005 for The Radio Magazine.

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'News: US Media Owner Emmis Communications Seeks Entry To UK Local Commercial Radio Sector' by Grant Goddard

  2. 2. News: US Media Owner Emmis Communications Seeks Entry To UK Local Commercial Radio Sector Page 2 ©2005 Grant Goddard Emmis Communications, the American media company with plans to move into the UK radio market, has netted $680m from the sale of sixteen local television stations in the US. Earlier this year, Emmis signalled its intention to re-focus on the radio business and has purchased further European operations. In January, it bought 'Radio Expres' in Slovakia for $14m, adding to its existing portfolio of stations in Belgium and Hungary. In the UK, Emmis has made applications for the Manchester and Solent FM licences with partner Atlantic Radio, a UK company run by Martin Farmer and backed by Rick Michaels, founder of equity firm Communications Equity Associates, and Woody Johnson, billionaire heir to the Johnson & Johnson fortune and owner of the New York Jets football team. A spokesperson for Emmis said: "We are bullish on radio in Europe and the UK in particular. This is an attractive opportunity for Emmis International." Emmis had been a shareholder in 'Talk Radio’s 1994 winning bid for the national AM licence but sold its holding a year later. Emmis chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan said the company would now be selling seven remaining US television stations: “We announced in early May that we were exploring strategic alternatives for our Television Group, so that we could focus on lowering debt and positioning ourselves for growth. We wanted to do what was right to get the best price for our shareholders, while providing our employees with the best possible new owners. In making today's announcement, we made substantial progress toward these goals.” Explaining Emmis’ move into more radio markets, Smulyan said: "It's become very popular to say 'radio's dead.' And yet it's a very vibrant media. The beauty of what we do is: it's local and it's live all the time." [First published in 'The Radio Magazine' as 'TV Sales Net Emmis $680m', #699, 31 August 2005] Grant Goddard is a media analyst / radio specialist / radio consultant with thirty years of experience in the broadcasting industry, having held senior management and consultancy roles within the commercial media sector in the United Kingdom, Europe and Asia. Details at