The buzz continues to build behind a multi-layered deal involving Cumulus, Townsquare Media, and Dial Global, that was first reported on Monday by Tom Taylor.
The deal as currently reported to be structured will see Cumulus sell approximately 50 stations to Townsquare Media. With Townsquare and Dial Global both having large ownership stakes held by Oak Tree Capital the sale of station assets will enable Oaktree to move equity from one company to another without as much money changing hands. We’ve heard a few variations on the clusters that will be involved in the station sale; with multiple Michigan markets and Syracuse being among the ones we keep hearing, allowing Townsquare to increase their presence in regions they currently operate.
The core of the deal will be Cumulus folding Dial Global into its Cumulus Media Networks. Should the acquisition get through government regulators intact, the combined CMN and Dial Global will surpass Clear Channel’s Premiere Radio Networks as the largest syndicator in the country.
Since its founding in 2006 from the merger of X Radio Networks, Dial Communications, and Global Media, Dial Global has acquired and consolidated in assets of Westwood One, Waitt Radio Networks, Excelsior Radio Networks, and Jones Radio Networks. Cumulus would be able to fold its nine 24 hour format services into DG’s mix of networks and custom programming solutions. Between the two companies they will be distributing three 7pm-12am Country music shows with Lia, Big Time with Whitney Allen, and CMT Radio Live with Cody Alan.
There will also be some overlap in the syndicated content each company produces. Adding Dial Global to its assets will add CBS News and NBC News to Cumulus’ ABC News. Cumulus operates the CBS Sports Radio Network, while Dial Global is a partner in NBC Sports Radio. DG will also bring along its play-by-play rights to the NFL, NCAA, and PGA.
As Cumulus claims it expand its Talk programming away from being focused completely on Conservative Talk, Dial Global’s assets include distribution of advice host Clark Howard, liberal talkers Bill Press, Ed Schultz, Stephanie Miller, and Thom Hartmann, non-partisans Jim Bohannon and Jon Grayson, and conservative hosts Herman Cain and Dennis Miller. Both companies have show prep, digital services, and imaging that will also be able to be consolidated between the two.
The amount of concentration in the syndication marketplace will lead to government inquiries on whether assets will need to be spun-off to make the deal acceptable. The aftermath will lead to quite a few hosts and programs left on the outside looking in at the combined company and heading to alternate distribution, whether it be a smaller syndicator, satellite, or podcasting.