The Calm Before The Storm?
2015 has been a slow year in the radio industry, particularly in the larger markets. Station sales are down; format changes are down. Signs are appearing that is about to change once Entercom’s acquisition of Lincoln Financial Media finally closes.
With FCC approval already given and a resolution with the Department of Justice likely around the corner, I’ve heard from multiple sources that Entercom believes it will close on the Lincoln acquisition by the end of next week if not sooner.
Are there other deals lined up waiting for the resolution in Denver? We know a buyer will need to be found for Sports “104.3 The Fan” KKFN and any other station the DOJ requires Entercom to divest. Would someone like say an Alpha Media enter the market with the divestitures and then add Wilks Broadcasting’s three FMs in the market? Wilks has slowly been divesting its assets over the past two years and is down to just Columbus, Denver and Reno.
Moves made by other companies also have teased further changes down the road. Lincoln VP/Programming John Dimick has been acting PD of their Atlanta properties since the departure of Scott Lindy in March. One of those stations, 790 WQXI doesn’t even have programming lined up once it loses its ESPN Radio affiliation next month.
Then there’s San Diego where Lincoln Financial Media has four stations, but CBS Radio has been making moves that make the possibility of a divestiture seem likely. First 96.5 KYXY Program Director Charlie Quinn resigned in May and then General Manager Bob Bolinger announced his departure earlier this week. As Tom Taylor noted yesterday, a combination of the soon-to-be Entercom and CBS properties in the market could easily be achieved with the divestiture of 92.1 KSOQ Escondido, which currently rebroadcasts Country 97.3 KSON for the northern portions of San Diego County. CBS and Entercom will have overlap in Atlanta and Miami after the Lincoln deal closes that could make for a potential swap. We’ve even heard that a domain registration made by iHeartMedia in Hartford could be tied into whatever is about to happen. Could Entercom be looking to add CBS Hartford to expand its WEEI Sports Network into Connecticut as part of a deal?