Sevan takes swing at KMPC

Add two names to the list of prospective buyers for KMPC-AM.

Former KABC-TV bosses John Severino and Tom Van Amburg, operating as SeVan Broadcasting, have made a $ 20 million-plus bid for the low-rated all-sports station.

They join their former employer, Capital Cities/ABC, and several other radio companies that have expressed interest in KMPC.

CapCities, which also owns L.A. radio station KABC-AM, has been considered the front-runner to acquire KMPC. But sources say that the flamboyant Severino, who last year stepped down as president of the regional sports network Prime Ticket, and Van Amburg, who runs the indie production firm Tri-Crown, are now considered among the serious contenders to take over the station from longtime owners Gene and Jackie Autry.

The Autrys reportedly are demanding a guarantee from the new owner that the station will continue to carry their baseball team, the California Angels.

Less certain is the fate of football’s Rams, coming to the end of a four-year broadcast agreement with KMPC. Industry sources say the station is losing about $ 100,000 a month on the Rams and will have to pony up $ 2.5 million to carry the 1993 season.

The station is also considered a likely landing spot for Disney’s new Mighty Ducks hockey franchise in Anaheim.

Beyond SeVan and CapCities, other companies considered possibilities include Infinity Broadcasting, which owns KRTH-FM and KROQ-FM, Shamrock Broadcasting (the Burbank-based company whose principal owner is Roy E. Disney and which is on the prowl for stations) and KPWR-FM owner Emmis Broadcasting.

KMPC general manager Bill Ward did not return calls, but previous reports have indicated that buyers have balked at the Autrys’ high asking price for the station.

Reached for comment, Severino emphasized that there have been some conversations with the Autrys but “nothing definitive.”

For Severino, the KMPC bid marks his reentry into the media spotlight after a year of self-imposed exile. He surprised many in the industry last August by announcing his retirement after four years heading Prime Ticket.

The former president of the ABC Television Network and longtime general manager at KABC-TV left the basic cable channel in October when his contract expired.

Severino’s partner in the radio venture, Van Amburg, also served as general manager of KABC-TV and a short stint running KCBS-TV. His production company produced KABC’s defunct “Eye on L.A.” until the station took production in-house.

The pair have lined up a major investment banking firm to finance a chunk of the purchase price.

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