The owners of KORG-AM and KEZY-FM in Anaheim agreed to sell the sister radio stations for $14 million to ML Media Partners, which operates a cable television company serving parts of Orange County.
ML's radio division, Win Communications, has signed a letter of intent to buy the stations from Anaheim Broadcasting Co. The final contract is scheduled to be signed in a few days, a Win official said.
"We have agreed to purchase it," said Walter Tiburski, Win's president. "We will be involved in actual contract signings next week. We are very much looking forward to being in the market."
ML has no plans to change the formats of either station, Tiburski said. KORG (AM 1190) has an all-talk format, and KEZY (FM 95.9) is a Top 40 rock station. The stations have changed formats frequently over the years. For instance, KORG until February was KPZE, a religious programming station.
The proposed sale must be approved by the Federal Communications Commission before ML can begin operating the stations.
Executives at KORG and KEZY declined to be interviewed.
ML Media Partners is a publicly traded limited partnership in New York formed by former Ziff-Davis Broadcasting Co. Chairman I. Martin Pompadur, former ABC president Elton Rule and the brokerage house of Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, New York.
ML owns 12 radio stations in markets such as Cleveland, Indianapolis and Puerto Rico. The partnership has two ABC affiliate television stations--in Lafayette, La. and Rockford, Ill.
Multivision Cable TV Corp., ML's other major holding, has been the subject of frequent complaints from consumers in Anaheim and Hermosa Beach.
In Orange County, the firm provides cable service to Anaheim, Anaheim Hills and Villa Park.
Last year, the city of Anaheim held arbitration hearings in an unsuccessful effort to obtain a 25% reduction in subscriber rates.
Documents filed by ML in connection with the sale of its partnership units said its goal is to buy broadcast properties, revamp them and then sell out at a handsome profit.
KORG and KEZY will be bought with that intention, Tiburski said. The stations are already profitable, according to ML.
The stations also will give ML a presence in Southern California's lucrative radio market. Orange County is the 16th largest radio market in the United States, according to Sales and Marketing Management, an industry publication.
"This is not just a bunch of Wall Street people coming into pillage and plunder," he said. "Our focus is to encourage the Orange County identity of the station. We're going to be careful not to assimilate into the L.A. market."
Tiburski said ML plans to spend "substantial amounts of cash dollars" to promote the stations. He said a KEZY-sponsored Beach Boys concert is in the works.