Michaels to pick up Loop, Q101; format change possible?

June 20, 2011 10:00:00 PM PDT
In a deal worth at least $110 million, Emmis Communications has sold controlling interest of two Chicago radio stations to ex-Tribune Company executive Randy Michaels and an equity firm.

Emmis released a statement Tuesday stating that Q101 (WKQX 101.1 FM) and The Loop (WLUP 97.9 FM) will be transferred to Merlin Media, which will be acquired by Chicago-based private equity firm GTCR and Michaels.

The transfer will take place over the next 45 days. Included in that transfer is a reported change of format for Q101 from alternative rock to news-talk radio.

"While it is always difficult to part with stations that have been valuable contributors to our company, we believe that today's transaction will create significant value for our shareholders," said Jeff Smulyan, Chairman & CEO of Emmis.

A New York station will also be transferred as part of the deal.

Emmis purchased WKQX in 1988, picking up The Loop in 2005.

Michaels served as the Tribune Company's CEO until last October.

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