Lance’s Line

Entercom’s Quick Strikes

Is this 1997 or 2017? A major radio merger just closed and Alternative has once again become the format du jour. Entercom spent their first day following the closing of its CBS Radio acquisition with nearly hourly announcements that included four (maybe five?) format changes as it quickly made its mark on its newly acquired properties. The moves included the expected launch of Alternative in Dallas and New York and the unexpected move of WJMK Chicago to Classic Hip-Hop. The first move took place minutes after the deal closed as Country 97.3 KSON San Diego moved to 103.7, while low-rated CHR “Energy 103.7” KEGY then relaunched on 97.3 the following Monday. The move helps KSON remain audible in the northern suburbs of the city as its former simulcaster 92.1 KSOQ-FM had been dives...Read More

Looking At The Ramifications Of Today’s Three Entercom Divestiture Deals

In a series of three deals involving twenty eight stations in six markets, Entercom today finalized all of its necessary divestitures to complete its merger with CBS Radio. In the process it will completely change the holdings of the big three operators in Boston, consolidate operators in Seattle, bring a new entrant to Sacramento and San Francisco, and add two new markets for Entercom. Let’s go on a market-by-market and cluster-by-cluster look at the impacts of the deals and what happens next. Boston Using the October 2017 PPMs released yesterday, the four big commercial groups (Beasley, CBS Radio, Entercom, and iHeartMedia) combined for 68.7% of all Boston market listening. CBS Radio’s cluster had a 22.7 share, Beasley a 21.0, iHeartMedia 12.9, and Entercom a 12.1 share. Taki...Read More

The Radio Station Of The Future…. Today!

As was long expected, the FCC voted today to eliminate the Main Studio Rule that has been in place since the formation of the agency in 1934. But what will that mean in the short term? Probably not a lot. Early on expect to see some networks like Relevant Radio or Bott Radio Network that has programming originate at a handful of locations but dozens of stations or companies that have clusters in adjacent markets such as Beasley’s three New Jersey operations or companies that have stations in both Baltimore and Washington DC could be consolidated into one building. In the long term be prepared for a much leaner broadcast facility. From talking to engineers who have been preparing for such a move there isn’t much in the way of a consensus on what will happen next. Some of the lar...Read More

EMF: Don’t Hate The Player, Hate The Game

Some have likened them to Star Trek’s Borg, others to Star Wars’ Galactic Empire. As Educational Media Foundation assimilates radio stations into its collective leaving nothing but a transmitter in its wake many have begun to wonder how they got to this point and how to stop them. To look at how EMF has gotten to this point you have to first look back to where they came from. What would become the national “K-Love” brand started out in Middletown/Santa Rosa CA in 1982 as “FM 92 KCLB“. The K-Love brand and new KLVR call letters would come in 1988 as would translators expanding the station’s coverage to other markets surrounding the San Francisco Bay Area such as Monterey and San Jose. Expansion to other markets would begin in the middle of the 1990s...Read More

We Will Rebuild; If You Can Find Us

Hurricane Irma decimated many broadcast facilities as it moved up Florida and into Georgia. The FCC stated on Tuesday that at least 51 stations or translators were off the air (a few others are not even listed here) due to flooding or other damage caused by the storm. While some of these stations have since returned, what has quickly struck out is that not a single one of these stations has acknowledged being off (or in one case where they moved temporarily) on their websites. Some of them have posted notices on Facebook directing listeners to stream the stations if possible. You can still listen to Cat Country 1071 now on the iHear Radio App!!! We are working hard to restore our on air single from the aftermath of Hurricane Irma LISTEN NOW http://ihe.art/qLDQ0td Posted by Cat Country 107....Read More

As TuneIn Continues Subscription Push; Where Does AM/FM Go?

TuneIn, the one time aggregator that built its brand on the backs off making it easy to find streams for broadcast radio before putting its growth behind premium subscription content, has raised $50 million to continue its investment in building a subscription based competitor to SiriusXM. Bloomberg reports that “TuneIn will use the money to pay for rights to live sporting events and original programming like podcasts and music shows, which will help the company sign up more customers for a two-year-old subscription service.” Among the content currently included in the $9.99 per month TuneIn Radio Pro are Sports play-by-play and exclusive talk shows for MLB, NFL, NHL, Premiere League and Bundesliga, Audiobooks, language learning, and commercial-free music streams. The TuneIn ap...Read More

A Few Thoughts From The Translator Window Filings

With the 1,081 pending applications (now 1,045 after the first batch of dismissals) made for Class C & Class D AM stations now public, I had a chance to dig through the applications and a few key themes became apparent. There’s little spectrum left to bring a new translator to a big market. One application filed in the New York and Los Angeles markets, two in San Francisco, one in Philadelphia for a frequency that already contested in the 250 mile waiver period, and one in Dallas and Houston. The Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, and one of the San Francisco filings were made by Multicultural Broadcasting after that company sat out the 250 mile waiver moves last year. Of the big operators some were active, while others were shockingly quiet. Salem Communications, which was very acti...Read More

CBS Gives HD Radio A Needed Programming Boost A Decade Too Late

On Wednesday CBS Radio News/Talk 1020 KDKA Pittsburgh announced the launch of a new “KDKA Traffic & Weather” HD Radio subchannel on 107.9 WDSY-HD3 and streaming via Radio.com. The programming will feature traffic and weather reports every five minutes from 5am to 7pm weekdays and road closure updates along with weather in nights and weekends. For the first time since 102.7 WNEW New York debuted as the first HD Radio station in 1999 a broadcaster is creating something that can be used as a selling point for the technology. In its early days both Sirius and XM used their 24/7 traffic and weather channels as selling points for their new satellite services. The combined SiriusXM has now consolidated traffic to just eight markets split over five channels after temporarily elimi...Read More

What’s The Job?

A recent look at industry job postings shows a trend that has been going on for quite some time is accelerating. On-air personalities are now “content specialists” at Townsquare. Many General Managers are now Market Presidents. And who doesn’t have a Vice President or Senior Vice President title in management? Why does the receptionist have a “Director of First Impressions” title in operations that are tucked away in an office park where there may be a handful of employees pulling multiple jobs and the only daily visitors are the mailman and FedEx driver? That first impression is one that nobody will ever see. A Digital Program Director at some operations has full oversight of the cluster’s web, social media and streaming operations. At some its simply t...Read More

Looking At The KPWR Deal

Alex Meruelo saved Jeff Smulyan and Emmis Communications. Mere weeks after Smulyan had to amend Emmis Communications’ credit agreements by agreeing to sell $80 million worth of assets by January 2018, Meruelo agrees to pay nearly that exact amount for “Power 106” KPWR Los Angeles. Most of the people I’ve spoken to today figure the conversation went something like this: Meruelo: You need to cut $80 million. We’ll give you that for KPWR. Smulyan: Pay $2.75 million for filing and legal fees too. Meruelo: Done deal. By selling KPWR, Emmis doesn’t have to look at selling clusters in multiple markets where there are additional cost savings by running multiple stations and gets out from a station that has been severely challenged by the launch of iHeartMedia...Read More

How Is Removing The Ownership Subcaps Good For All?

Earlier this month six group owners wrote a letter to the FCC petitioning for the removal of the AM/FM band subcaps per market. The heads of Alpha Media, Connoisseur Media, East Arkansas Broadcasters, Galaxy Communications, Jackson Radio Works, and Roberts Communications seek the FCC to act on a previous NAB petition to reconsider the limits on the amounts of stations a company can own in a market. The Commission originally adopted the AM/FM subcaps in light of technological and marketplace differences between AM and FM stations that the FCC feared disadvantaged AM stations. The Commission’s most recent broadcast ownership order ignores record evidence that any technical and marketplace dynamics that may once have differentiated AM and FM stations no longer exist. On reconsideration, the C...Read More

How To Play The FCC And Come Out On Top

Make no mistake about it. Entercom’s maneuverings with KDND in light of the merger with CBS Radio were a stroke of genius. The potential of 107.9 KDND losing its license over the 2007 “Hold Your Wee For a Wii” contest and death of Jennifer Strange and attempts to have Entercom’s entire Sacramento cluster dragged into the matter was going to hover over the regulatory hurdles the merger with CBS Radio would need to clear in the months ahead. Now Entercom eliminates that hassle and has the potential to improve the status of its Sacramento cluster. By replacing low-rated Hot AC “Star 106.5” KUDL with the “107.9 The End” intellectual property and turning in the 107.9 license Entercom now has the ability to improve its standing in the Sacramento market. Upon c...Read More