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|Traded as||NASDAQ: EMMS|
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Emmis Communications is an American media conglomerate based in Indianapolis, Indiana. Emmis, based on the Jewish word for Truth, Emet was founded by Jeff Smulyan in 1980. Since the foundation, Emmis has been a huge influence in the media space. Throughout the years, Emmis has owned many radio stations, including KPWR and WQHT, which have notoriety for their Hip Hop Rhythmic format as well as WFAN, which was the world's first 24hr sports talk radio station. In addition to radio, Emmis has invested in TV, Publishing, and mobile operations around the United States. The company's logo is a large 'e' representing pushing beyond the boundaries, which exemplifies the company philosophy of encouraging unique approaches to problem solving.
In 1980, Emmis Broadcasting founder Jeffrey Smulyan purchased his first radio station, WSVL-FM Shelbyville, Indiana. In July 1981, Smulyan changed the format from country music to adult contemporary and renamed the station WENS. The station's quick success led him to purchase other radio stations throughout the country.
Around 1984, the company bought Magic 106 in Los Angeles, California; at the time, L.A. Lakers player "Magic" Johnson was an early spokesperson for the station. In early 1986, Emmis changed Magic 106 to Power 106 KPWR. Also in 1986, the company expanded as they purchased WAPP-FM (renamed WQHT) and WHN (now WEPN) in New York as well as WAVA-FM in Washington, D.C. from the Doubleday Broadcasting Company. Both KPWR and WQHT would pioneer the rhythmic format and go on to be Emmis' two flagship radio properties. In 1987, Emmis would transform WHN into the world's first all-sports radio station, WFAN.
In 1994, the company purchased WIBC and WKLR in Indianapolis from the Horizon Broadcast Corporation and WRKS in New York City from the Summit Communications Group. WKLR was changed from an oldies format to a classic hits format with the call letters of WNAP in September 1994.
In 1998, Emmis Broadcasting changed its name to Emmis Communications and moved into its current headquarters on Monument Circle in Indianapolis.
In 2005, Emmis changed the format of their first radio station from its long-term adult contemporary format to country, and the call letters were changed from WENS to WLHK. Emmis was also named one of Fortunes 100 Best Companies to Work For. In March of that year, Emmis Communications and 98.7 KISS-FM, NY celebrated Women's History Month by introducing their first annual salute to Phenomenal Women (also referred to as the Phenomenal Woman Awards).
In January 2006, after 3 years in which Barry Mayo's New York station moved behind Power 105.1 as the second-tier rap station in New York, Mayo announced his departure from his post.
In 2006, Emmis flipped KZLA/Los Angeles to Adult Rhythmic Contemporary as "KMVN, Movin' 93.9". The move gives Emmis a companion station to complement KPWR. However, on April 15, 2009, KMVN switched to Spanish-language programming, KXOS, under a seven-year Local Marketing Agreement with Grupo Radio Centro of Mexico City.
On June 9, 2009, Emmis announced it has formed a strategic alliance with StreamTheWorld, the radio industry's streaming technology and services company, to put all Emmis radio stations on a new streaming platform.
On January 12, 2011, the share price of Emmis stock surged 42% as insiders speculated that the company could be close to selling off several of its radio stations. In their January, 2011 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company reported that it had the necessary cash to survive through February, 2011. "Absent asset sales, which the company is actively pursuing," Emmis attorneys stated in the regulatory filing, "the company believes it is unlikely it will be able to maintain compliance with the financial covenants after Sept. 1, 2011."
On August 16, 2013, Emmis launched the NextRadio smartphone app on HTC One Android phones from Sprint. A deal struck between the radio industry and Sprint facilitated the launch which subsequently enabled FM radio support for the app on additional Android devices available on the Sprint wireless network.
On October 12, 2016, Emmis announced that they will sell their radio stations in the Terre Haute cluster to Midwest Communications and DLC Media. Midwest Communications will acquire WTHI-FM and the intellectual property of WWVR while DLC Media will acquire WFNF, WFNB and the broadcast license for WWVR. Midwest Communications will also sell WDKE to DLC Media to stay under FCC ownership limits. The sale was consummated on January 27, 2017.
It was announced on March 1, 2017, that Emmis has sold four of its magazines (Atlanta, Cincinnati, Los Angeles, & Orange Coast) to Hour Media Group, LLC for $6.5 million. It has also sold Texas Monthly to Genesis Park, LP for $25 million.
On May 9, 2017, Emmis announced that it will sell KPWR to The Meruelo Group for $82.75 million. The announcement comes after Emmis, who exits the nation's second-largest radio market, made a deal in April with its lenders to seek $80 million worth of divestments by January 2018 to amend its credit agreement. The Meruelo Group began operating the station under an LMA on July 1, 2017 until the sale was consummated on August 1, 2017.
In June 2019, Emmis announced that it would sell its controlling stake in its Austin stations to their minority partner Sinclair Telecable Inc. (d/b/a Sinclair Communications, unrelated to Sinclair Broadcast Group).
On July 1, 2019, Emmis announced that it would sell its New York City stations WQHT and WBLS to Mediaco Holding--an affiliate of Standard General--for $91.5 million, a $5 million promissory note, and a 23.72% stake in the new company. Mediaco Holding will be a public company, and Emmis will continue to manage the stations.
The NextRadio smartphone app was developed by Emmis, with support from the National Association of Broadcasters, to take advantage of mobile devices with activated internal FM receivers. NextRadio allows users of select FM-enabled smartphones to listen to live broadcast FM radio while receiving supplemental data such as album art, program information, and metadata over the internet. Launched in August 2013 through a radio industry agreement with Sprint Corporation, the app was preloaded on select devices and was also available for download in the Google Play Store.
The NextRadio app is powered by TagStation, an Emmis-developed cloud data service for enhanced radio broadcasting. TagStation allows broadcasters a web-based platform for managing supplemental content for delivery to the NextRadio app,HD Radio receivers, and connected car dashboards.
During the quarter ended November 30, 2018, Emmis decided to dramatically reduce the scale of operations in TagStation, LLC and NextRadio, LLC. In connection with this decision, the company recognized $1.2 million of severance related to the termination of 35 employees. Emmis Chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan said on the company's second quarter earnings call that Emmis was "unwilling and unable" to continue funding the NextRadio and TagStation businesses.
Emmis announced on September 9, 2008 that it had teamed up with digital radio network WorldBand Media and would be using the "HD-3" subchannels to produce programming for the South Asian communities in Chicago (on WLUP), Los Angeles (on KPWR), and New York (on WQHT), and would include a combination of local and international content that should be available by mid-October 2008.
In May 2005, Emmis announced its intent to sell some or all of the 16 television stations they owned at the time. In August 2005, the company announced the sale of nine television stations, as well as four more in October, an additional station in May 2006, another station in February 2007, and its final station in May 2008. Emmis no longer owns any television stations.
Stations are arranged alphabetically by state and by city of license.