Friday, April 3, 2009

Rick Dees Loses Radio Home: "Movin 93.9" To Go Spanish

Rick Dees is once again out of a job.

KMVN-FM -- known as the rhythmic AC "Movin' 93.9" -- is expected to flip to a Spanish format later this month. Dees hosts the morning show there.

Format flip means the one-time Los Angeles morning drive champ, who left KIIS-FM in 2004 but returned to the airwaves with great fanfare in 2006, will lose his radio gig later this month.

Move to Spanish comes as Mexico's Grupo Radio Centro has struck a deal with KMVN owner Emmis to operate the radio station under a lease management agreement. (Because it's a Mexican company, it can't own a U.S. station outright.)

Here's the press release:

Emmis Enters Into Long-Term LMA with Grupo Radio Centro for Los Angeles' KMVN

Indianapolis -- Emmis Communications Corporation (Nasdaq: EMMS) today announced it has entered into a long-term Local Marketing Agreement (LMA) for KMVN-FM (93.9) with one of Mexico's leading broadcasting companies, Grupo Radio Centro, S.A.B. de C.V. (NYSE: RC).

The LMA for the Los Angeles radio station will start on April 15, 2009 and continue for up to seven years, for $7 million a year. At any time during the LMA, Grupo Radio Centro (GRC) has the right to purchase the station for $110 million. At the end of the term, Emmis has the right to require GRC to purchase the station for the same amount.

"I couldn't be prouder of our KMVN team," Emmis Chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan said. "It is always difficult to part with a station and our people, but in these challenging times, it is the right decision for Emmis."

Under the LMA, Emmis will continue to own and operate the radio station, with GRC providing Emmis with programming to be broadcast. Under the arrangement announced today, GRC will find a purchaser who meets all applicable FCC ownership requirements if it is not qualified to own the station at the time of purchase.

Emmis purchased the station in 2000 and flipped format from country to rhythmic pop contemporary in August 2006.

Indeed, Emmis caused quite a stir in 2006 when it dumped the country format on the station (then known as KZLA) to target young women with a new rhythmic format.

The switch, however, was a big bust. Listeners rejected the station -- which eventually dropped current songs and focused on more of an adult contemporary approach. Dees, meanwhile, never posed any competitive threat in the morning slot.

Movin' had recently seen its numbers tick up, but it wasn't enough. Emmis had attempted to sell the station to Bonneville, but had asked for too much money; Bonneville came in and bought 100.3 instead (where its "The Sound" format is now struggling).

The KMVN switch reps yet another major format change in what has become a tumultuous time in L.A. radio -- following the KDLD switch from "Indie 103.1" to Spanish and KLSX's switch from FM Talk to top 40.

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