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Agreement Reached for Sale of KMPC : Radio: Cap Cities to take over. All-sports format reportedly will give way to general talk.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

An agreement on the sale of all-sports radio station KMPC to Cap Cities, the parent company of ABC television and radio, and of ESPN, has been reached.

In announcing the agreement Thursday, Bill Lennert, a spokesman for Cap Cities-owned KABC radio, said there were no further details.

But a two-page memo was distributed to KMPC employees Thursday alerting them to layoffs, possibly as soon as late January.

Sources have said that the station’s new owners plan to change the format to general talk, or “smart talk,” aimed at the 18-to-34 MTV set.

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KMPC owners Gene and Jackie Autry lease the station’s studios on Sunset Boulevard from the Tribune Co., which also owns television station KTLA, located on the same lot. That lease expires today.

The plan reportedly is for KMPC to relocate to the new KABC radio studios on La Cienega Boulevard.

A source said Cap Cities will pay $17 million for the KMPC license, plus another $3 million or so for the property where the KMPC transmitter is located in North Hollywood.

Negotiations between the Autrys and Cap Cities earlier this year stalled because the Autrys wanted Cap Cities to take over their sports broadcast properties--the Angels, Rams, UCLA and Clippers. Reportedly, Cap Cities did not want those properties at the time.

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But apparently a compromise has been worked out in which the new KMPC will continue to carry games of the Angels, UCLA and Clippers.

The Rams’ radio contract, which carries a rights fee of $2.5 million, expires after the team’s final game Sunday, and the Rams might have to find a new station. KMPC reportedly has been losing more than $1 million a year on the Rams.

Scott O’Neil, KMPC program director, said that because the Angels, UCLA and Clippers are expected to remain on the station, some wraparound sports programming probably will be retained.

O’Neil said that although the sale has not been concluded, if there is a local marketing agreement made between Cap Cities and the Autrys, Cap Cities could take over management at that time. O’Neil speculated that could happen in February.

George Green, KABC general manager, apparently will take over management of the new KMPC. Green was unavailable for comment.

As rumors of the sale of KMPC began circulating weeks ago, one source said syndicated shows such as Larry King’s and G. Gordon Liddy’s are possibilities for the new programming.

At the time, Green declined to comment on the proposed new format but said it was “ludicrous” for anyone to speculate on a possible program lineup.

KMPC switched from a 1940s-'50s music format to all-sports in April of 1992. Ratings declined, and the station began incurring major financial losses, reportedly as much as $7 million the first year.

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KMPC first went on the air on Feb. 19, 1927, when the call letters were KRLO. It was later KEJK, and became KMPC on March 14, 1930. The call letters stood for MacMillan Petroleum Co., which owned the station at the time.

Gene Autry, Bob Reynolds and Loyd Sigmon bought the station in 1952 for $800,000.


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