Broadcast deal volume in the third quarter of 2022 reached $14.3 million in the TV section and $68.7 million in the radio market. The $83 million total represents less than half of the deal volume in the second quarter at $185.9 million. However, what the deal market lacked in quantity, it made up for in quality.
So far in 2022, we registered six radio transactions of $10 million or higher. Three of them were announced in the third quarter, doubling the number of high-value deals.
The top radio deal of the quarter was a transaction five years in the making. In September 2017, Dick Broadcasting Company, Inc. of Tennessee announced plans to buy 18 radio stations in three small markets in Georgia and in the Carolinas from Alpha Broadcasting LLC. The deal was valued at $19.5 million when it was announced, but it never closed. Instead, Dick Broadcasting operated the stations under a local marketing agreement, or LMA.
In August 2022, a new agreement was filed with the FCC, listing an initial purchase price of $17.85 million. The price will be adjusted taking into consideration the 2021 LMA fees.
In the second-largest radio deal of the quarter, Adams Radio Acquisition Co LLC paid $12.6 million for all 15 full-power and three low-power stations owned by Adams Radio Group LLC. Adams Radio Acquisition is led by Adams Radio Corp. and Adams Broadcast Group former Chairman Stephen Adams.
In Puerto Rico, Hemisphere Media Group Inc. paid $10.0 million for TelevisaUnivision, Inc. subsidiary Univision of Puerto Rico Inc., which operates three AM and two FM stations in all three major Puerto Rican cities, San Juan, Ponce and Mayaguez.
The largest single station deal of the quarter was Triangle Marketing Associates Inc.’s sale of Country FM WKJO in North Carolina’s Raleigh-Durham market to Curtis Media Group Inc. Raleigh-Durham is Curtis Media’s home base. The company already owns four AM and two FM stations in the market. To comply with FCC ownership caps, WKJO will be licensed to FM 102.9 LLC.
The only significant TV deals in the third quarter were the sale of two digital low-power stations for exceptionally high prices. In July, Word of God Fellowship Inc., operator of the Daystar Television network, announced the purchase of WXNY-LD in downtown New York from New York Broadband LLC. The $3.0 million purchase price was the highest price paid for a single low-power TV station since November 2013.
Transmitting from the top of the Empire State Building, the station reaches 4.8 million households.
Gray Television Inc. continued the expansion of its low-power television imperium. The company has spent $18.3 million so far in 2022, purchasing licenses and construction permits for 54 low-power and four class A TV stations. In September, Gray announced the acquisition of WBQC-LD in Cincinnati, Ohio, from Block Broadcasting Inc. for $2.5 million.
In the last 20 years, there have only been five sales of single low-power TV stations for $2.5 million or more. The last one happened in July 2017. Over the previous four years, average prices for single low-power TV stations have been constantly growing from $180,000 in 2018 to $434,000 in 2021. So far in 2022, with the sales of WXNY-LD and WBQC-LD and six other LPTV stations sold for more than $1 million, the average has grown past half a million to $549,000.