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 closing of the CBS deal, Entercom can now fit one of those stations under its cap. Keeping AC “Mix 96” KYMX or Country 105.1 KNCI only makes Entercom Sacramento stronger in the long run. Plus it takes one commercial license out of play for the next few years if not longer giving one less property to have to distribute revenue around.
One of the groups that was contesting KDND’s license was quick to proclaim victory. The Media Action Center called the decision to turn in the license “a huge victory for the Public Interest”, but how so? Eliminating one local option from the FM band is a victory? The KDND intellectual property and branding doesn’t go anywhere. By the end of the year Entercom will have added a stronger property to its cluster. The public simply has one less broadcast outlet of value.
By no means does Entercom come off easy, nor should they have following the death of Jennifer Strange on a station sanctioned event. They paid $16.5 million to the Strange family following a civil trial and now will lose the proceeds from divesting one of the Sacramento properties. That will add up to over $30 million in financial losses over the incident but come 2018 Entercom will have a stronger position in Sacramento and made the best of an untenable situation.