Is Something Up With Cumulus & Univision?

Cumulus Media 2018 Mary BernerOver the past 24 hours we have been inundated with inquiries asking whether there is smoke to rumors that have exploded following Univision’s announcement of companywide layoffs of Cumulus Media either acquiring or taking over management of Univision’s radio properties.

On paper a marriage of Cumulus and Univision’s radio properties makes no sense on a programming, but in terms of markets where the companies operate it makes perfect sense. Cumulus would be able to fill out its clusters in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston, expand into Miami and San Antonio, perhaps exchange AMs for FMs in San Francisco, while only having divestitures needed in Dallas, Fresno, and San Francisco.

RBR reported in June on speculation of a marriage between the companies at a Hispanic Media Conference following the addition of former Univision CFO Andy Hobson to Cumulus’ Board of Directors as the company exited bankruptcy although they then downplayed the speculation the next day. While the restructuring of Cumulus helped bring the company’s debt load

On the heels of the layoff announcement by Univision we heard about possible format changes in multiple markets which goes against new CEO Vincent Sadusky’s comments about going back to basics with the Spanish language media sphere. And sure enough there are anonymous registrations that point to the markets we’ve heard about potential changes.

On Tuesday, anonymous registrations of Alt921FM.com and Alt951FM.com were made that may point to Univision’s “Amor 92.1” KRDA Clovis/Fresno and “Latino Mix 95.1” KMYO Comfort/San Antonio respectively. San Antonio in particular is now the largest market without an Alternative formatted station.

97.9 The Loop WLUP Chicago Educational Media Foundation EMFBut it was an anonymous registrations we reported on last week that would tie a nice bow on a deal between the companies. 1051TheLoop.com would indicate a return of the WLUP brand to Chicago on what is now Univision’s Regional Mexican “Que Buena 105.1” WOJO. Cumulus has the WLUP call letters parked in Minnesota awaiting the ability to bring them back to Chicago after the sale of 97.9 to Educational Media Foundation earlier this year. The highly rated Regional Mexican format could easily slide to either 93.5 WVIV or 106.7 WPPN.

Be clear that we’re not prefacing that a deal between Cumulus and Univision is imminent but there is lots of smoke surrounding this right now and as we’ve proven over and over again with our domain reports over the past decade more often than not the domain registrations usually end up leading to something happening.

2 Comments
  1. kennedyideas says


    Lance,

    The fascinating and very likely outcome you have discussed here. With Mary running the company after emerging from bankruptcy, we must remember her first passion isn’t radio. Ultimately by 2040, we’re expected to be a no-majority country, which would place these potential Cumulus stations in most situations in a well-advanced market position and could be an identifying piece of the company as it moves forward.

  2. radioguy76 says


    If Univision and Cumulus radio combine their resources most likely San Francisco will have to divest 3-4 radio stations so a new radio ownership group will emerge (ex: Hubbard, Beasley or Lew Dickeys Modern Media) might purchase these stations…

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