WADL Detroit Sold On Spectrum Valuation

Every man has his price, as the idiom says, and Kevin Adell has been offered his.

As the Wall Street Journal noted, the FCC has valued WADL Detroit's airwaves at about $170 million, and that's a price Adell, principal at Adell Broadcasting, told me he can work with.

"I think I'm taking my chips off the table," he told B&C.

The FCC valuations are coming in high, Larry Patrick, managing partner at Patrick Communications, tells the WSJ, which will likely shrink the number of stations out there.

“Because the numbers are so high, many more broadcasters are suddenly taking a look at what they have and saying, ‘Do I need this station at all?’” Patrick said.

Such as Adell, who relaunched the locally owned former home shopping station as an African-American-targeted entertainment channel in 2007. There have been highs--a splashy upfront presentation at the Rainbow Room in Manhattan in 2008, prominent signage at Red Wings, Tigers and Pistons games--and lows, including the disastrous hiring of Kevin O'Brien in 2012, and new news director hire Matt Stevens getting laid off as soon as he showed up for his first day.

Through it all, WADL has accomplished what it set out to do in 2007: be entertaining.

Adell told B&C back in March: “If there’s a better use for our spectrum and the price brings value to Adell [Broadcasting], I would have to consider [selling]."

He will hold onto his gospel-themed cable channel, The Word.

Adell says he'll likely agree to the spectrum deal before the FCC changes his mind. “The FCC is coming with carrots," he told the WSJ. "One day they’re going to come with sticks.”

Michael Malone

Michael Malone is content director at B+C and Multichannel News. He joined B+C in 2005 and has covered network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television, including writing the "Local News Close-Up" market profiles. He also hosted the podcasts "Busted Pilot" and "Series Business." His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The L.A. Times, The Boston Globe and New York magazine.