Is there a radio connection to the swap? Back in 2012 Cox realigned their media properties “to focus on larger markets, cross-media collaboration, and heightened impact in fewer markets.” That realignment led to the divestiture of six radio clusters and five television stations.
Of the sixteen markets Cox currently operates media properties in (not including San Francisco), the company has cross-media clusters in five of them.
In Atlanta the company’s grandfathered cluster now includes 1 AM, 5 FM’s, 1 TV, and 1 Newspaper. Similar clusters operate in Dayton, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Tulsa. Of the remainder of the company’s markets, Cox owns just a newspaper in two (Austin & West Palm Beach), only television stations in three (Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Seattle), and only radio stations in six (Athens, Houston, Long Island, Miami, San Antonio, Tampa).
The swap with Fox is the first major acquisition for Cox since its realignment. Adding stand-alone television stations in Boston and Memphis goes against the operating model that realignment created. Does this open the door for radio acquisitions in those markets? It is noticeable that four companies own radio stations in Boston and at least one of the other markets than Cox currently owns just television stations. Clear Channel has stations in all five but has shown no willingness to be a seller. CBS owns radio in all but Memphis, but it has existing TV overlap in Boston and Pittsburgh that would be hard to give up. Entercom owns radio stations in Boston and Memphis. Greater Media has radio stations in Boston and Charlotte.