Entercom Trades Boston & Seattle Spin-Offs To iHeartMedia For Richmond & Chattanooga

Entercom iHeartMedia WBZ Boston Seattle Richmond ChattanoogaIn the third spin-off announced as part of its DOJ settlement, Entercom will trade its remaining Boston and Seattle spin-offs to iHeartMedia for their clusters in Richmond VA and Chattanooga TN.

iHeartMedia will receive CBS Radio’s News/Talk 1030 WBZ, Classic Rock 100.7 WZLX and Entercom’s Talk 680 WRKO and Urban AC “The New 97.7” WKAF in Boston and Variety Hits 96.5 Jack-FM” KJAQ, Classic Rock 102.5 KZOK, Sports “CBS Sports 1090” KFNQ in Seattle.

In exchange Entercom will receive the following ten stations:

Chattanooga: Variety Hits “98.1 The Lake” WLND, Country “US 101” 100.7 WUSY, CHR “103.7 Kiss-FM” WKXJ, and Rock “Rock 105” 105.5 WRXR as well as Urban “Real 96.1” W241AF/WUSY-HD2.

Richmond: CHR “Q94” 94.5 WRVQ, AC “Mix 98.1” WTVR-FM, Alternative “XL 102” 102.1 WRXL, Urban “106.5 The Beat” WBTJ, Sports “Fox Sports 910” WRNL, News/Talk 1140 WRVA, Classic Rock “96.1 The Planet” W241AP/WRVQ-HD2, and Country “Big 98.5” W253BI/WTVR-HD2.

The deals will require iHeart to divest at least one station in both Boston and Seattle.

iHeart will be adding WBZ, WRKO, WKAF, and WZLX to its current cluster that includes Rhythmic CHR “Jam’n 94.5” WJMN, Country “101.7 The Bull” WBWL, CHR “Kiss 108” 107.9 WXKS-FM, Business 1200 WXKS, and Conservative Talk 1430 WKOX. That would give the company five FMs and four AMs in the market or one over the ownership limit.

In Seattle KJAQ, KZOK, and KFNQ will join CHR “Power 93.3” KPWK, Classic Hits “95.7 The Jet” KJR-FM, Alternative “Alt 102.9” KFOO, Rhythmic CHR 104.9 KUBE, Hot AC “106.1 Kiss-FM” KBKS, and Sports 950 KJR. That will require the spin-off of two FM’s.

iHeart states “We are divesting two FM stations in Seattle – KFOO and KUBE — and one AM station – WKOX — in Boston. These stations will be put into a divestiture trust and we are exploring sale options for them.”

iHeartMedia announced today a strategic station exchange with Entercom Communications (NYSE: ETM) across four U.S. markets. Under the agreement, iHeartMedia will acquire seven radio stations from Entercom in Boston, MA and Seattle, WA and Entercom will acquire 10 stations from iHeartMedia in Richmond, VA and Chattanooga, TN. The agreement is expected to close in the first quarter of 2018.

Under the agreement, WRKO-AM, WZLX-FM, WKAF-FM and WBZ-AM in Boston and KZOK-FM, KJAQ-FM and KFNQ-AM in Seattle will join iHeartMedia, which currently operates more than 850 radio stations in 150 markets that reach over a quarter of a billion monthly listeners with its broadcast stations alone; in addition to broadcast, the company reaches audiences across digital, mobile, social and live events. These seven stations will also be available on iHeartRadio, the all-in-one streaming music and live radio service with more than 1.4 billion downloads and 100 million registered users.

Entercom will acquire WRVA-AM, WRXL-FM, WTVR-FM, WBTJ-FM, WRNL-AM and WRVQ-FM in Richmond and WKXJ-FM, WLND-FM, WRXR-FM and WUSY-FM in Chattanooga. The deal is part of Entercom’s broader divestiture and acquisition package to facilitate the company’s pending merger with CBS Radio.

“We’re excited to add these stations to iHeartMedia across broadcast, digital, mobile, social and our spectrum of iHeartRadio-branded live events,” said Bob Pittman, Chairman and CEO of iHeartMedia. “This exchange is an opportunity for us to expand our presence and further strengthen our position in two markets – Seattle and Boston – even though we have to give up two smaller markets that have been an important part of this company. This was a difficult decision for us, but we think we arrived at the best decision for our company, and we are pleased that we’ll continue to have a presence in the Richmond and Chattanooga markets through the iHeartRadio platform, Premiere Networks, the Total Traffic and Weather Network and the Virginia News Network.”

Pittman added, “These markets are two of the few where we did not have a full complement of stations; now we will have a full complement in Boston and a full complement of FM stations in Seattle.”

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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.

8 Comments


  1. As evidenced by what iHeart did to KRTH, the prospects of WBZ remaining a news powerhouse are dimming quickly. Maybe there’s the remote chance it becomes another WLW (with WRKO as an all-syndicated talker a la 55KRC + Howie Carr).

    And what in the Wide Wide World of Sports does iHeart do with 1200 and 1430? Flip it back to Mia?

    This also explain why iHeart was transferring personnel and letting people go in Richmond a few months ago.


  2. Interestingly, it looks like iHeart will be holding on to the Virginia News Network–instead of keeping it together with WRVA.


    • Maybe Entercom wasn’t interested in the expense with that network? iHeart can at least fold the operations into Total Traffic.


  3. This is the worst thing that could ever happen to WBZ-1030.

    Their news-by-day/talk-by-night format, almost all of it (except for the sound portion of “60 Minutes” and a couple of paid programs on weekends) locally produced, will likely get scuttled.

    I hope that the part of the iHeart/Entercom deal breaks down and that someone else will buy the Boston stations being spun-off in the CBS radio/Entercom merger.

    If this does go through, one thing seems certain: WBZ Radio will be leaving it’s studio home of almost 70 years and will relocate to iHeart’s facility in Medford, assuming that additional space is available.


    • >> “I hope that the part of the iHeart/Entercom deal breaks down and that someone else will buy the Boston stations being spun-off in the CBS radio/Entercom merger.”

      That’s absolutely irrational and ridiculous to say. The deal has been agreed to and will happen. And for what purpose do you want this to blow up? So the merger can be delayed? Stop it right now.

      >> “Their news-by-day/talk-by-night format, almost all of it (except for the sound portion of “60 Minutes” and a couple of paid programs on weekends) locally produced, will likely get scuttled.”

      Or… that latest bit of unfounded speculation doesn’t happen. 700 WLW is live/local on a near 24/7 basis, an exception to most iHeart news/talkers. WBZ certainly can be another exception… after all, WRKO is now usable as a syndication dumping ground with self-syndicated Howie Carr in the middle.

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