Hip-hop radio station Power 106 in Los Angeles sold for nearly $83 million

Artist Kendrick Lamar performs at a 2012 Cali Christmas concert in Los Angeles sponsored by hip-hop radio station Power 106.
(Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times)

Emmis Communications has agreed to sell its prominent Los Angeles radio station KPWR-FM (105.9) for $82.75 million to the privately held Meruelo Group of Downey.

The station, known as Power 106, is one of Los Angeles’ top-ranked stations and a longtime leader in hip-hop music.

“Power 106 has been part of the Emmis family for more than 32 years, so this day is bittersweet,” Jeff Smulyan, chief executive of Indianapolis-based Emmis Communications, said in a statement. “The Meruelo Group will be great owners of this historic brand, and take it to even greater heights.”


Emmis sold the station, its sole outlet in L.A., to pay down debt. The sale is subject to the Federal Communications Commission’s approval of the station license transfer.

The deal, announced Tuesday, represents the latest changing of the guard in L.A. broadcasting. Sinclair Broadcast Group on Monday agreed to pay $3.9 billion for Tribune Media, which owns the historic KTLA-TV Channel 5 on Sunset Boulevard.

Meruelo Group is a diversified holding company with interests in banking, construction, hospitality and real estate. The company, run by entrepreneur Alex Meruelo, has been expanding its media portfolio and intends to use some of its proceeds from the FCC spectrum auction for the purchase. Meruelo bought Spanish-language television station KWHY-TV Channel 22 from NBCUniversal in 2011 and in 2014 picked up radio station KDAY-FM (93.5) for about $15 million.

Meruelo agreed to retain Power 106’s workforce of about 90 employees, Emmis Chief Financial Officer Ryan Hornaday said.


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