Magic Johnson Takes a Shot at Saving Inner City Broadcasting

Magic Johnson Takes a Shot at Saving Inner City Broadcasting

Earvin “Magic” Johnson has bought the parent company of legendary New York radio station WBLS-FM.

Published May 25, 2011

Earvin “Magic” Johnson, the NBA Hall of Famer, has been a serial entrepreneur since retiring from professional sports, and the chairman and CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises always wants to make the winning shot.


Johnson's company is ready to buy the delinquent senior debt that investment bank Goldman Sachs holds in New York City's Inner City Broadcasting Company (ICBC), which was created by the late former Manhattan Borough President Percy Sutton.


Johnson’s partner in the deal is The Yucaipa Companies, owned by billionaire Ron Burkle.


In 2008, ICBC, which is parent of New York City’s popular WBLS radio station and 16 other stations, was missing interest payments on its $230 million debt to Goldman and GE Capital. Johnson is unlikely to have to pay that full amount.


Three years ago, after public support from the Congressional Black Caucus and others, Goldman struck a deal to renew payment negotiations.


In 2010, Johnson sold his share of the Los Angeles Lakers for an undisclosed sum.


Separately, in entertainment business news, Direct TV announced its intent to launch a Black-oriented television network, Punch, this summer.


(Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Written by Frank McCoy


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