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Emmis Communications
Founded1980 (1980)
HeadquartersIndianapolis, Indiana
Key people
Jeffrey Smulyan
Revenue114,131,000 United States dollar (2019) Edit this on Wikidata
Number of employees
350 (2019) Edit this on Wikidata

Emmis Communications is an American media conglomerate based in Indianapolis, Indiana. Emmis, based on the Hebrew word for Truth (Emet[1]) was founded by Jeff Smulyan in 1980. 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 24-hour sports talk radio station. In addition to radio, Emmis has invested in TV, publishing, and mobile operations around the United States.



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 and later to WLHK.

In 1982, Emmis acquired WLOL in Minneapolis, MN and quickly became a top contender for ratings.[2]

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. Emmis also bought KSHE in St. Louis in the same year.

In early 1986, Emmis changed Magic 106, which focused on traditional top 40 rock, to Power 106 KPWR, which would focus on dance, top40, and shock-jock talk.[3]

In 1987, Emmis made a series of purchases including WQHT, WYNY, and WNBC in New York, WKZX-FM in Chicago, WJIB in Boston, WKUU and KXXX in San Francisco, and KKHT-FM in Houston. They also acquired WAVA-FM in Washington, D.C. from the Doubleday Broadcasting Company. Both KPWR and WQHT would pioneer the urban contemporary rhythmic format.[citation needed] Emmis transformed WHN into the world's first all-sports radio station, WFAN.[citation needed]

In 1988, Emmis entered the world of publishing. Emmis purchased Indianapolis Monthly and added WKQX in Chicago to its radio portfolio. Also, Emmis acquired five NBC radio stations in 1988.[4]

Chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan purchased the Seattle Mariners Major League Baseball team in 1989.[5]


Emmis kicked off the 1990s by selling KKHT-FM in Houston to Nationwide Communications in May 1990.[citation needed]

In 1991, Emmis sold two more stations: WLOL to Minnesota Public Radio[6] and KXXX, San Francisco, to Alliance Broadcasting. Also in 1991, KMGG became KPWR, "Power 106" and became the first rhythmic contemporary-focused top 40 formatted outlet.[7][8]

In 1992, Emmis sold WFAN, New York, to Infinity for US$70M,[9] which was one of the highest prices ever paid for an AM radio station. Emmis also sold WAVA-FM, Washington D.C., to Salem Broadcasting[10] and WJIB, Boston, to Greater Media.[11] In the same year, Jeff Smulyan sold the Seattle Mariners to Nintendo.[12]

Emmis grew its publishing portfolio by adding Atlanta Magazine in 1993.[13] In the same year, Emmis launched its second hip hop station in America, Hot 97.[14] Emmis' Q101 in Chicago moved into an Alternative Rock Format.[citation needed]

In 1994, the company purchased WIBC (now WFNI) and WKLR (now WIBC (FM)) 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-FM in September 1994.[15] Emmis became a public company, EMMS on NASDAQ, with an IPO on March 4, 1994.[citation needed]

The following year, 1995, WQHT and KPWR were among the top rated radio station in each of their markets.[16] This resulted in a record-breaking accomplishment where Emmis was the first company to own top rated radio stations in the top 2 markets.[16] Later in 1996, WHHH (formerly WTLC-AM/FM) became top rated for Urban Adult Contemporary.[17]

Emmis entered the world of international radio in 1997 when the company was awarded a license to operate in Hungary, Sláger Radio, which debuted #1 nationwide and remained the country's most popular national radio station until the Hungarian government revoked the license in 2009.[18] Emmis added Cincinnati Magazine to its publishing group, as well as KIHT-FM and KPNT-FM in St. Louis to its rock collection.

In 1998, Emmis Broadcasting changed its name to Emmis Communications[19] and moved into its current headquarters on Monument Circle in Indianapolis.[20] Emmis acquired a lot of media in the same year including Texas Monthly,[21] WRXP in New York, WTHI and WWVR in Terre Haute, and six television stations in Honolulu, New Orleans, Green Bay, and Mobile, Alabama, from SF Broadcasting and in Terre Haute, Indiana, and Ft. Myers, Florida, from Wabash Valley Broadcasting[22] RadioNow was launched in Indianapolis as a Top 40 format.

Emmis purchased Country Sampler Magazine in 1999[citation needed] and Liberty Media purchased 2.7 million shares of Emmis for approximately $150M.[23]


In 2005, Emmis changed the format of its 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 Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For.[citation needed] In March of that year, Emmis Communications and 98.7 KISS-FM, New York, celebrated Women's History Month by introducing their first annual salute to Phenomenal Women (also referred to as the Phenomenal Woman Awards).[24]

n 2006, Emmis flipped KZLA Los Angeles to Adult Rhythmic Contemporary as "KMVN, Movin' 93.9". The move gave 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.[25]

On June 9, 2009, Emmis announced it had 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.[26]


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 its 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".[27]

On August 16, 2013, Emmis launched the NextRadio smartphone app on HTC One Android phones from Sprint.[28][29] A deal struck between the radio industry and Sprint facilitated the launch[30] which subsequently enabled FM radio support for the app on additional Android devices available on the Sprint wireless network.[31]

On October 12, 2016, Emmis announced that it would sell its radio stations in the Terre Haute cluster to Midwest Communications and DLC Media. Midwest Communications would acquire WTHI-FM and the intellectual property of WWVR while DLC Media would acquire WFNF, WFNB and the broadcast license for WWVR. Midwest Communications would also sell WDKE to DLC Media to stay under FCC ownership limits. The sale was consummated on January 27, 2017.[32][33][34]

On March 1, 2017, Emmis announced it had sold four of its magazines (Atlanta, Cincinnati, Los Angeles, and Orange Coast) to Hour Media Group, LLC for $6.5 million. It also sold Texas Monthly to Genesis Park, LP for $25 million.[35]

On May 9, 2017, Emmis announced that it would sell KPWR to The Meruelo Group for $82.75 million. The announcement came after Emmis 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.[36][37][38]

On January 30, 2018, Emmis announced it would leave the St. Louis market, selling KSHE and KPNT to Hubbard Broadcasting, and KFTK and KNOU to Entercom.[39]

In June 2019, Emmis announced that it would sell its controlling stake in its Austin stations to its minority partner Sinclair Telecable Inc. (d/b/a Sinclair Communications, unrelated to Sinclair Broadcast Group).[40]

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.[41] The sale was completed November 25, 2019.[42]


On March 11, 2020, Emmis announced that it had purchased sound masking technology company Lencore Acoustics.[43]

On April 24, 2020, Emmis announced that it would voluntarily delist from the Nasdaq, citing cost-saving concerns.[44]

On June 13, 2022, Emmis announced it will sell their Indianapolis radio properties to Urban One for an undisclosed amount..[45]

Company portfolio

Lencore Acoustics

Emmis acquired Lencore in 2020. Lencore transforms environments that change people’s lives. They engineer and build system solutions for Sound Masking, Paging and Audio with applications in a variety of industries. Major clients include: Amazon, AT&T, CVS Health, Coca-Cola, Ford, Ernst & Young, Michelin among many others.[citation needed]


Emmis acquired Digonex in 2014. Digonex is a technology company focused on dynamic pricing solutions providing clients with automated, data-driven pricing technology of a caliber that was previously only available to the largest corporations.[citation needed]


Former Emmis-owned magazines

NextRadio app

NextRadio Live Guide
NextRadio Live Guide

The NextRadio smartphone app was developed by Emmis, with support from the National Association of Broadcasters, to enable FM radio reception on mobile devices with activated internal FM receivers.[46] NextRadio allows users of many FM-enabled smartphones to listen to broadcast FM radio—with no need for Internet connection or use of phone data—and receive supplemental data such as album art, program information, and metadata over the Internet if connected.[47][48] Launched in August 2013 through a radio industry agreement with Sprint Corporation,[49] the app was preloaded on some devices, and available for download in the Google Play Store of Android applications.[50]

The NextRadio app is powered by TagStation, an Emmis-developed cloud data service for enhanced radio broadcasting.[51][52] TagStation allows broadcasters a web-based platform for managing supplemental content for delivery to the NextRadio app,[53] HD Radio receivers,[54] and connected car dashboards.[55]

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.[56] 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.[57]

In January 2019, Radio World published a long article analyzing NextRadio's operation and failure, suggesting that the long-term, unfulfilled, hope was that the radio industry could eventually monetize the NextRadio app, in part by providing advertisers with good analytical information and insights into radio's return on investment.[58]

As of the end of 2021 version 6.0.2492 (2 January 2019) of the NextRadio app remained available on the Google Play Store.[50]


Currently owned stations – United States

Location Callsign Frequency Branding Format
Indianapolis, Indiana WIBC-HD2 107.5 MHz
93.5 MHz
The Fan Sports
WIBC 93.1 MHz 93 WIBC News/Talk
WLHK 97.1 MHz Hank FM Country
WYXB 105.7 MHz B105.7 Adult Contemporary
New York, New York
WEPN-FM 1 98.7 MHz 98.7 ESPN Sports
WLIB 1190 kHz 1190 WLIB Urban Contemporary Gospel
  1. Operated by ESPN Radio/LMA by the Walt Disney Company under a local marketing agreement

Former Emmis-owned radio stations

WorldBand Media HD Radio deal

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.[62]


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.[63]

Former Emmis-owned television stations

Stations are arranged alphabetically by state and by city of license.


City of license / Market Station Channel
Years owned Current ownership status
Mobile - Gulf Shores, Alabama WALA-TV ## 10 (9) 1998–2005 Fox affiliate owned by Gray Television
WBPG 55 (25) 2003–2006 The CW affiliate, WFNA, owned by Nexstar Media Group
Tucson, Arizona KGUN ¤¤ 9 (9) 2000–2005 ABC affiliate owned by the E. W. Scripps Company
Cape Coral - Fort Myers - Naples, Florida WFTX-TV 36 (35) 1998–2005 Fox affiliate owned by the E. W. Scripps Company
Clermont - Orlando -
Daytona Beach, Florida
WKCF 18 (17) 1998–2006 The CW affiliate owned by Hearst Television
Honolulu KHON-TV ## 2 (8) 1998–2006 Fox affiliate owned by Nexstar Media Group
KGMB ¤¤ 9 (now 5 (23)) 2000–2007 CBS affiliate owned by Gray Television
Terre Haute, Indiana WTHI-TV 10 (10) 1998–2005 CBS affiliate owned by Allen Media Broadcasting
Topeka, Kansas KSNT ¤¤ 27 (27) 2000–2006 NBC affiliate owned by Nexstar Media Group
Wichita - Hutchinson, Kansas KSNW ¤¤ 3 (45) 2000–2006 NBC affiliate owned by Nexstar Media Group
Great Bend, Kansas KSNC ¤¤
(Satellite of KSNW)
2 (22) 2000–2006 NBC affiliate owned by Nexstar Media Group
Garden City, Kansas KSNG ¤¤
(Satellite of KSNW)
11 (11) 2000–2006 NBC affiliate owned by Nexstar Media Group
McCook, Nebraska KSNK ¤¤
(Satellite of KSNW)
8 (12) 2000–2006 NBC affiliate owned by Nexstar Media Group
New Orleans, Louisiana WVUE-DT ## 8 (29) 1998–2008 Fox affiliate owned by Gray Television
Grand Rapids - Battle Creek -
Kalamazoo, MI
WXMI 17 (19) 1998 1 Fox affiliate owned by the E. W. Scripps Company
Omaha, Nebraska - Council Bluffs, Iowa KMTV ¤¤ 3 (45) 2000–2007 2 CBS affiliate owned by the E. W. Scripps Company
Manchester, New Hampshire WMUR-TV 9 (9) 2000–2001 3 ABC affiliate owned by Hearst Television
Albuquerque - Santa Fe, New Mexico KRQE ¤¤ 13 (13) 2000–2005 CBS affiliate owned by Nexstar Media Group
Portland, Oregon KOIN ¤¤ 6 (40) 2000–2006 CBS affiliate owned by Nexstar Media Group
Tacoma - Seattle, Washington KTZZ 22 (25) 1998 1 MyNetworkTV owned-and-operated (O&O), KZJO
Huntington - Charleston, West Virginia WSAZ-TV ¤¤ 3 (23) 2000–2005 NBC affiliate owned by Gray Television
Green Bay, Wisconsin WLUK-TV ## 11 (11) 1998–2005 Fox affiliate owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group


Board of directors

See also


  1. ^ "Hebrew Word of the Week - Emet". Retrieved November 12, 2019.
  2. ^ Carman, John (July 9, 1982). "WLOL whistling happy tune over Arbitron ratings" (PDF). Minneapolis Star Journal. Retrieved December 12, 2019.
  3. ^ "How and Why of KPWR's Popularity". Los Angeles Times. October 18, 1988. Retrieved December 12, 2019.
  4. ^ Fabrikant, Geraldine (February 20, 1988). "Emmis to Buy 5 NBC Radio Stations". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 12, 2019.
  5. ^ "Baseball Ownership Has Become a Lot More Than Dollars and Sense". Los Angeles Times. October 20, 1989. Retrieved December 12, 2019.
  6. ^ "Honchos Claim MPR Plays Monopoly". Variety. February 11, 1991. Retrieved December 20, 2019.
  7. ^ "Power 106 Turns 25 Today In Los Angeles". All Access. Retrieved December 20, 2019.
  8. ^ Nelson, Rodrigues, Morgan Exit, Kelly Consults (January 17, 1986). "Emmis Turns on 'Power 106'" (PDF). R&R The Industry's Weekly Newspaper. Retrieved December 20, 2019.((cite news)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  9. ^ Lev, Michael (December 12, 1991). "THE MEDIA BUSINESS; Accord Is Reached to Sell WFAN-AM for $70 Million". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 20, 2019.
  10. ^ "The Final Hour of CHR on WAVA". Format Change Archive. February 12, 1992. Retrieved December 20, 2019.
  11. ^ "The Boston Radio Dial: WBQT(FM)". Retrieved December 20, 2019.
  12. ^ Sandomir, Richard (June 12, 1992). "BASEBALL: ANALYSIS; Mariners' Ex-Owners Make Off With Booty". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 20, 2019.
  13. ^ "Emmis Publishing Corp. purchases Atlanta Magazine". UPI. Retrieved December 20, 2019.
  14. ^ "Brief History". THE ORIGINAL WQHT. Retrieved December 20, 2019.
  15. ^ "WNAP". WNAP ~ Trax & Grooves. Retrieved December 20, 2019.
  16. ^ a b "Ratings Report and Directory" (PDF). R&R. 2: 12–24. Spring 1995.
  17. ^ "Ratings Report & Directory" (PDF). R&R. 2: 91. 1996.
  18. ^ "Emmis off the air in Hungary". Radio & Television Business Report. November 18, 2009.
  19. ^ "Emmis Communications Corporation company profile -". Retrieved December 20, 2019.
  20. ^ King, Mason. "Indianapolis Monthly to vacate longtime offices, make way for STAR Bank on Circle". Indianapolis Business Journal. Retrieved December 20, 2019.
  21. ^ "Emmis to Buy Texas Monthly Publisher". The New York Times. Associated Press. January 28, 1998. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 20, 2019.
  22. ^ Gunset, George. "Emmis to Purchase 6 TV Stations". The Chicago Tribune. Retrieved December 20, 2019.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  23. ^ Roundup, An Interactive Journal News (October 26, 1999). "Liberty Media Agrees to Buy Stakes In Astrolink, Emmis Communications". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved December 20, 2019.
  24. ^ 98.7 KISS-FM (April 7, 2005). "Emmis communications/98.7 KISS-FM celebrated Women's History Month by introducing its first annual salute to Phenomenal Women". Press Release. Emmis Communications.
  25. ^ "Page not found". Emmis Communication. Archived from the original on June 28, 2010. ((cite web)): Cite uses generic title (help)
  26. ^ "Page not found". Emmis Communication. Archived from the original on June 28, 2010. ((cite web)): Cite uses generic title (help)
  27. ^ Wall, J. K. (January 13, 2011). "Emmis surges as industry anticipates radio sale". Indianapolis Business Journal. Retrieved December 29, 2021.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  28. ^ "Emmis and Sprint Roll Out NextRadio -- FM-enabled Smartphone App for Consumers". August 15, 2013.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  29. ^ "Rock Out with New NextRadio App on Red Hot HTC One Exclusively from Sprint Beginning Aug. 16 | Sprint Newsroom". Sprint. Archived from the original on February 7, 2014.
  30. ^ "Sprint to Launch Smartphones With FM Capability Aug. 16, 2013". Radio World. August 15, 2013.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  31. ^ "Sprint customers to enjoy local FM radio on smartphones via FM radio chip". Sprint (Press release). January 8, 2013. Archived from the original on August 29, 2014.
  32. ^ "Emmis Announces Agreement to Sell Terre Haute Radio Stations in Three, Related Transactions - Emmis Communications". Emmis Communications. October 12, 2016.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  33. ^ "Emmis, Midwest & DLC Media Make Deals In Terre Haute". RadioInsight. October 18, 2016.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  34. ^ Venta, Lance (January 29, 2017). "DLC Media Sets Plans For New Terre Haute Stations". Radio Insight. Retrieved December 29, 2021.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  35. ^ Emmis Communications Sells Off Four City Magazines, Paste Magazine, March 1, 2017, Retrieved March 2, 2017.
  36. ^ "Emmis Sells Power 106 Los Angeles To Mereulo Group" from Radio Insight (May 9, 2017)
  37. ^ Looking At The KPWR Deal RadioInsight - May 9, 2017
  38. ^ "Meruelo Takes Over KPWR; Sets New Management" from Radio Insight (July 6, 2017)
  39. ^ Holleman, Joe. "Emmis Communications leaving St. Louis market with sale of KSHE, 3 other radio stations". Retrieved January 31, 2018.
  40. ^ "Emmis Exits Austin Market With Sale To Sinclair Telecable". Retrieved June 16, 2019.
  41. ^ "Emmis Forms New Mediaco Holding Company With Standard General, To Transfer WBLS And WQHT (Hot 97)/New York To New Entity". All Access. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  42. ^ Jacobson, Adam (November 27, 2019). "Emmis' Mediaco Move Complete, As Are Cumulus Spins". Radio & Television Business Report. Retrieved November 28, 2019.
  43. ^ "Emmis Announces Acquisition of Market-Leader Lencore Acoustics' Sound Masking Business". Cision PR Newswire. May 11, 2020.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  44. ^ Burris, Alexandria (April 24, 2020). "Emmis Communications voluntarily delisting from NASDAQ". Retrieved December 29, 2021.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  45. ^ "Emmis Sells Indianapolis Stations to Radio One".
  46. ^ "NextRadio: Delivering the Hybrid Radio Experience". Archived from the original on September 18, 2014.
  47. ^ "What We Do".
  48. ^ O'Malley, Chris (September 14, 2013). "Emmis' 'NextRadio' app mimics traditional FM radio". Indianapolis Business Journal.
  49. ^ "Sprint customers to enjoy local FM radio on smartphones via FM radio chip". Sprint Newsroom. January 8, 2013.
  50. ^ a b "NextRadio Free Live FM Radio". Google Play. Retrieved December 29, 2021. From reviews: it is necessary to set the location to 'other'; if a location is specified the app will not work as it is unable to connect to the discontinued NextRadio server to download station information.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  51. ^ "What We Do – NextRadio and TagStation".
  52. ^ "TagStation". Archived from the original on April 19, 2015. Retrieved April 21, 2015.
  53. ^ "TagStation".
  54. ^ "Artist Experience". HD Radio.
  55. ^ "iBiquity Digital and TagStation Unveil World's First Automotive Platform Converging Digital Radio Broadcasting and Mobile Application Technologies". PR Newswire. January 5, 2015.
  56. ^ EMMIS COMMUNICATIONS CORPORATION - For the quarterly period ended November 30, 2018 (PDF) (Report). UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION. January 10, 2019. 10-Q. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 6, 2019.
  57. ^ Stine, Randy J. (October 12, 2018). "NextRadio's Days Are Numbered". Radio World. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
  58. ^ Stine, Randy J. (January 9, 2019). "NextRadio Outcome Leaves a Void". Radio World.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  59. ^ "Emmis Exits Austin Market with Sale to Sinclair Telecable".
  60. ^ "Newly Formed Mediaco Holding To Purchase New York's WBLS And HOT 97 From Emmis - Radio Facts".
  61. ^ "Emmis Sells L.A.'s Power 106 to Meruelo Group for $82.75 Million" (Variety, May 9, 2017)
  62. ^ "Emmis partners with WorldBand Media to launch HD channels for South Asian communities". September 1, 2008.[permanent dead link]
  63. ^ Sherman, Jay (April 18, 2006). "Emmis in Final Discussions to Sell Orlando's WKCF-TV". TVWeek. Archived from the original on May 14, 2006.