Bad news for Emmis - loses Hungarian station (about 6% of co rev)
Emmis fights for Hungarian FM network.
The National Radio and Television Board has voted to yank Emmis’ license for the 16-station Slager Radio network. It wants to hand the frequencies to a consortium of politically-connected Hungarian investors, giving Emmis until November 18 to power down the oldies-based AC network.
Slager station manager Heal Edina says in a post on the station’s website, “A political decision has been made, which means that Hungary’s democracy and press freedom has suffered a serious blow.” Edina says Emmis will take all legal action needed to keep the 11-year old network on the air. The company wanted a new seven year contract with an additional five-year extension despite the fact Slager revenues were off 47% in the six months ending August 31.
Emmis ran into a similar renewal speed bump seven years ago when the board voted to pull the license for non-payment of broadcasting fees. They eventually worked out an agreeable number. This time it’s politics, not money.
On October 28, 2009, the Hungarian National Radio and Television Board (the "ORTT") announced that it was awarding to another bidder the national radio license currently held by our majority-owned subsidiary, Slager Radio Co. PLtd. ("Slager"). We believe the award of the license to the other bidder violates, among other things, the ORTT's own national radio license tender rules, the Hungarian Media Law and European Commission Treaty to which Hungary became a party in 2004, and are vigorously exploring avenues for having the award set aside, including but not limited to litigation in Hungary and in the European Union. If the award remains in effect, Slager would be required to cease to broadcast effective November 19, 2009.