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The Calm Before The Storm?

Lincoln Financial Media Entercom Denver Atlanta San Diego Miami CBS Radio Alpha Media2015 has been a slow year in the radio industry, particularly in the larger markets. Station sales are down; format changes are down. Signs are appearing that is about to change once Entercom’s acquisition of Lincoln Financial Media finally closes.

With FCC approval already given and a resolution with the Department of Justice likely around the corner, I’ve heard from multiple sources that Entercom believes it will close on the Lincoln acquisition by the end of next week if not sooner.

Are there other deals lined up waiting for the resolution in Denver? We know a buyer will need to be found for Sports “104.3 The Fan” KKFN and any other station the DOJ requires Entercom to divest. Would someone like say an Alpha Media enter the market with the divestitures and then add Wilks Broadcasting’s three FMs in the market? Wilks has slowly been divesting its assets over the past two years and is down to just Columbus, Denver and Reno.

Moves made by other companies also have teased further changes down the road. Lincoln VP/Programming John Dimick has been acting PD of their Atlanta properties since the departure of Scott Lindy in March. One of those stations, 790 WQXI doesn’t even have programming lined up once it loses its ESPN Radio affiliation next month.

Then there’s San Diego where Lincoln Financial Media has four stations, but CBS Radio has been making moves that make the possibility of a divestiture seem likely. First 96.5 KYXY Program Director Charlie Quinn resigned in May and then General Manager Bob Bolinger announced his departure earlier this week. As Tom Taylor noted yesterday, a combination of the soon-to-be Entercom and CBS properties in the market could easily be achieved with the divestiture of 92.1 KSOQ Escondido, which currently rebroadcasts Country 97.3 KSON for the northern portions of San Diego County. CBS and Entercom will have overlap in Atlanta and Miami after the Lincoln deal closes that could make for a potential swap. We’ve even heard that a domain registration made by iHeartMedia in Hartford could be tied into whatever is about to happen. Could Entercom be looking to add CBS Hartford to expand its WEEI Sports Network into Connecticut as part of a deal?

Profile photo of Lance Venta
Lance Venta is the Owner and Publisher of RadioInsight.com and a consultant for RadioBB Networks specializing in integration of radio and the internet. Lance has two decades of experience tracking the audio industry and its use of digital platforms.

6 Comments

  1. Profile photo of Marc B


    We don’t want WEEI in Hartford. Bye Felicia.

    • Profile photo of only1moore


      I would be more worried if Entercom does get the Harford cluster. You can bet a lot of WZMX listeners will be furious if they turn the 93.7 frequency into a WEEI simulcast since they share the same signal and do overlap in fringe areas.

      • Profile photo of Marc B


        There will probably be rioting in Hartford if they blew up WZMX. And protests in Farmington at the studios. WEEI is an awful station. I’ve listened a few times. Let Entercom have Connoisseur’s 4 AMs in the state for WEEI. At least that would be better than the wall-to-wall infomercials and the “best of Dave Ramsey” that currently make up The Weekend Line up on the 4 AM’s Connoisseur has.

        If Hartford gets WEEI on the CBS cluster put it on 96.5

  2. Profile photo of Nathan Obral


    Trading out of San Diego and Hartford to get WSTR/WQXI is a ridiculously smart move for CBS (getting them out of two smaller markets), and it relieves Entercom of a potentially terrible headache in market #10. It’s so obvious a move that I have to wonder if all parties agreed to the principles of such a deal months ago.

  3. Profile photo of Nathan Obral


    I’m curious if CBS might also throw in their Cleveland cluster as part of a probable swap with Entercom. If it results in both sides getting equal value (and the bolstering of CBS’s holdings in two top-10 markets – one of which is an AFC market in Miami that has a strong TV O&O) then that has to be taken into consideration.

    Honestly, from what Lance wrote in the last paragraph… do remember that WTIC 1080 just lost their news director a few weeks ago, and the position was eliminated entirely. I don’t think that WEEI will wind up on an FM signal in Hartford…

  4. Profile photo of only1moore


    Well, the DOJ did throw a wrench into the Denver situation. Can you say musical market chairs?

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