Posted In: Eastern Tennessee
No one knows if those 34 stations will go as a unit or in individual clusters, but what likely candidates are there to purchase Star 102.1, Hot 104.5, Q100.3 and Classic Hits 93.1? https://radioinsight.com/headlines/122660/scripps-places-radio-group-sale/
As I commented in the main-site post, I think that Entercom will likely end up with the most outlets; however, that certainly doesn’t mean that it’d buy the entire group. (At the very least, it couldn’t absorb all of Scripps’ stations in Wichita, as it already has its own significant cluster there.)
Many of Scripps’ markets (including Knoxville) are ranked in the 60s or 70s–smaller than Entercom’s current target for new markets (the top 50), but not by a whole lot. Therefore, I think that it will still try to bid on most of the clusters–but likely will try avoiding any sort of bidding wars.
The conventional wisdom right now, however, is that there will be several offers for individual clusters from local/regional operators–e.g., Midwest Communications, in the case of Knoxville. (For more, see today’s Tom Taylor Now [at https://us6.campaign-archive.com/?u=78b390ff9f5b002e3f050238c&id=690d9058bf], plus both http://www.insideradio.com/milwaukee-the-hot-property-in-scripps-radio-sell-off/article_58634e80-026b-11e8-9c82-73c1652379d5.html and https://radioink.com/2018/01/25/much-might-scripps-get-34-radio-stations.) However, in a lot of those cases, some stations would need to be spun off.
One name that I haven’t heard mentioned, though, is Mr. Dickey’s.
Most analysts think the Scripps radio division will be broken up and sold piecemeal. About the only way I could see Entercom getting everything would be if Bonneville picked up the tab and swapped the stations for the San Francisco and Sacramento clusters it’s operating from Entercom. I can’t imagine that would be either company’s first choice, but there has been some speculation that Bonneville didn’t buy the San Francisco and Sacramento clusters outright because the two companies were looking for clusters for Bonneville to buy and swap so Entercom could avoid the tax consequences of an outright sale.
I saw several mentions of Midwest possibly being interested in Knoxville. I’m not sure how feasible that would be with Midwest having both WJXB and WIMZ. I don’t know a ton about the revenue situation of the market, but I’d have to think both of those stations make enough in that market that adding a station like Star to the cluster wouldn’t pass DOJ muster.
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