A group of Latinos, including several prominent Democrats, have signed an agreement to buy 18 radio stations in 10 cities in a $60 million cash deal.
The AM and FM stations in the deal are part of the TelevisaUnivision network. The media group purchasing the stations is newly formed, calling itself Latino Media Network.
The 18 stations are in Los Angeles, New York City, Miami, Houston, Chicago, Dallas, San Antonio, McAllen, Fresno and Las Vegas. The group said the stations are mostly broadcasting sports, entertainment and music programming.
The stations include Radio Mambí in Miami, a spokesperson for the group told NBC News. Radio Mambí, a Spanish-language talk format AM station, had historically been a voice for Cuban exiles — though that changed about a decade ago.
The group said the radio stations they plan to purchase will reach one-third of Latinos in the U.S., about 20 million people.
Latino Media Network is led and founded by Stephanie Valencia, a former Obama administration staffer who now heads Equis Research, a Latino polling and research firm, and Jess Morales Rocketto, also at Equis and a veteran of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton campaigns.
A long string of Latinos are investors in the purchase, which still requires Federal Communications Commission approval. Not all are Democrats.
According to a news release from the group, $80 million in capital was raised to launch Latino Media Network. The group said it’s one of the largest amounts of capital raised by a Latino-owned and operated startup.
The money includes a loan from Lakestar Finance LLC, an investment firm associated with liberal billionaire George Soros.
“We believe in the power and reach of radio and it remains a main source of media for a significant number of our community,” Rocketto said in a statement. “We hope to create relevant content for radio and other audio platforms with content that our community can trust and rely on,” he continued.
“Latino Media Network is going to ensure that the Latino community continues to be served with the news and information that local communities deserve,” Rocketto stated.
The purchase comes amid rising concern over disinformation targeted at Latinos, particularly those who are Spanish speakers.
It follows a recent announcement of the launch of a Spanish-language conservative network on satellite radio.
The investors include former Univision anchor Maria Elena Salinas; actor and activist Eva Longoria; former Miami College president Eduardo Padrón; former Obama administration Cabinet member Maria Contreras Sweet; and former publisher and CEO of La Opinión Monica Lozano. It also includes American Conservative Union chair Al Cardenas, who has been a high-profile critic of former President Donald Trump.
Also among investors is Henry Muñoz III, founder of Latino Victory and Democrats activist; investor and businessman Luis Ubiñas; investor and entrepreneur Tom Castro; Juleyka Lantigua, founder and CEO of LWC Studios; Tom Chavez, high-tech entrepreneur; Christy Haubeggar, founder of Latina magazine and a vice president of Warner Media; and Alicia Bassuk, founder of Ubica Leadership.
The purchase agreement calls for a one-year transition agreement, expected to conclude in late 2023.
Latino Media Network said it is recruiting senior management later this year and plans to keep current TelevisaUnivision employees working at the stations.
LMN won the purchase agreement over Salem Media Group, which focuses on Christian broadcasting.