Townsquare Announces Stations Acquisition; Deal Worth Approximately $281 Million. Townsquare Media, LLC announces that it has executed definitive documentation related to three transactions with Cumulus Media Holdings, Inc. and Peak II Holding LLC which, upon consummation, will result in Townsquare acquiring assets including 71 radio stations in 15 markets. After the deal is consummated, Townsquare will own 312 radio stations in 66 markets and have operations in 25 states, making it the third largest owner of radio stations in the United States and the largest, “best-capitalized owner and operator of radio stations solely focused on small and mid-sized markets.” In a press release this morning, Townsquare reports it is acquiring assets including 53 radio stations (three of which will be assigned to a divestiture trust) in 12 markets (Battle Creek; Cedar Rapids; Danbury, Connecticut; Faribault-Owatonna, Minnesota; Kalamazoo; Lansing; Portland, Maine; Portsmouth-Dover-Rochester, New Hampshire; Quad Cities; Rochester, Minnesota; Rockford, Illinois; and Waterloo, Iowa) from Cumulus for cash. Townsquare is also acquiring Peak, which owns assets including 11 radio stations in two markets (Boise and Fresno) for cash and equity units of Townsquare. Finally, Townsquare will exchange certain assets including five radio stations, in Fresno it is acquiring from Peak, for Cumulus assets including 15 radio stations in two markets (Dubuque and Poughkeepsie) and a de minimis cash settle-up payment in favor of Townsquare. In total, Townsquare will be acquiring 68 stations from Cumulus, three of which will be assigned to a divestiture trust, and eleven Peak stations, five of which will be exchanged to Cumulus, resulting in a net increase of 71 stations. Townsquare expects to finance the transactions with a mix of secured and unsecured debt financing, Townsquare equity units and cash on hand. Townsquare has received debt financing commitments from its various financing partners in connection with the transactions and will complete its financing in compliance with the covenant package of Townsquare Radio, LLC’s existing Senior Unsecured Notes indenture. “These transactions represent the continued evolution of Townsquare Media into one of the nation’s largest local media companies and allow us to reach a scale which opens the door to new strategic opportunities,” comments Townsquare Chairman and CEO, Steven Price. “The assets we are adding to our portfolio are market leading brands with strong competitive positions in their respective small and mid-sized markets. We are excited by the opportunity to deploy our differentiated local-media strategy across a broader footprint in order to better serve our communities and our advertising clients.”
Cumulus Announces Expected Dial Global Acquisition. Cumulus Media Inc. issues a press release this morning announcing “a series of strategic transactions that solidifies the company’s position as a leading producer of high-quality content and continues to reshape its footprint focused on the top 100 markets.” The transactions announced today include:
• Acquisition of Dial Global, Inc. for $260 million in cash (consisting of approximately $45 million attributable to equity and the retirement of $215 million of debt)
• Sale of 53 radio stations in 12 small and mid-sized markets to Townsquare Media for $238 million in cash (inclusive of the acquisition of net working capital)
• Swap with Townsquare Media of 15 radio stations in two small & mid-sized markets in exchange for the receipt of five stations in Fresno, CA (market #68)
“These transactions give us the necessary scale to provide the marketing and enterprise solutions our advertising and affiliate partners require,” said Lew Dickey, CEO of Cumulus. “Our goal is to be the leading producer of premium audio content distributed through multiple platforms while continuing to build our broadcast platform in the top 100 U.S. markets.”
The acquisition of Dial Global will add sports, news, talk, music and programming services content – enabling Cumulus to provide a wider variety of options to approximately 10,000 U.S. radio stations, other media platforms and international platforms. New content acquired through the Dial Global acquisition will include NFL, NCAA, NASCAR, Olympics, AP Radio News, NBC News and other popular programming. Cumulus expects the transaction to be deleveraging based upon identified cost synergies of approximately $40 million, with additional upside from revenue growth potential through the creation of new content vehicles for broadcast radio advertisers. Additionally, Cumulus believes the opportunity exists to distribute premium, curated audio content across emerging new media platforms. Further, Cumulus intends to service broadcasters’ demands for premium content and enterprise solutions in Europe, the Americas and Australia.
WGN, Chicago Announces New Lineup. Yesterday (8/29), TALKERS reported the reuniting of Chicago radio personalities Wendy Snyder and Bill Leff on Tribune’s WGN, Chicago. Now, the station issues a release detailing the programming changes – some of which were reported a few weeks ago – that take place on Tuesday, September 3. As reported earlier, Steve Cochran assumes morning drive duties; he’s followed by Wendy & Bill from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon; husband and wife team Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano (pictured at left) air from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm and Garry Meier continues to host the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot. David Kaplan maintains his 7:00 pm show start but wraps at 11:00 pm when Pete McMurray, who expands his role with the station, starts hosting the 11:00 pm to 2:00 am program. As reported earlier this week, Nick Digilio becomes a full-time host with the station on the 2:00 am to 5:00 am slot. Weekends are spotlighted by the return of Kathy O’Malley and Judy Markey (pictured lower right) to the station in the Saturday 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot beginning September 14. Other changes include: “The Design Dude with Frank Fontana” airing from 6:00 am to 7:00 am, followed by “Mr. Fix-it with Lou Manfredini” from 7:00 am to 10:00 am. When not affected by sports preemptions, Bill Moller will follow Kathy and Judy from 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm and “Sports Central” will remain in the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm time slot. The Sunday lineup will introduce a new show dedicated to the discussion of the Chicago political landscape. Chicago Tribune writer Rick Pearson will host “Chicago Way: Politics with Pearson” on Sundays from 7:00 am to 9:00 am. “The Dean Richards Sunday Special” will follow at 9:00 am, extending an additional two hours until 1:00 pm. In addition to his Saturday show, Bill Moller will air from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Brian Noonan remains in the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm time slot, followed by the return of Chicago treasure, Rick Kogan, from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm. Comedian and media personality, Patti Vasquez, will air from 11:00 pm to 2:00 am. Playing a feature role in the future of WGN’s new lineup will be “720 Snackables.” These spotlight segments will live online and on-air as interviews, video shorts, and podcasts. They’ll feature the WGN family of experts including Dean Richards’ “A-List Interviews,” “Legally Speaking with Karen Conti,” “Bertrand on Books” with Steve Bertrand, “Flavor HD” with Hannah Stanley & Dane Neal, “Steve Dale’s Pet World,” Paul Green’s “Paul & The Politicians,” “Good Cents with Ilyce Glink,” and more.
Chris Carl New RTDNA Chair. WDEL, Wilmington, Delaware director of news and programming Chris Carl is the new chair of the Radio Television Digital News Association. Pictured here is outgoing chair Vince Duffy of Michigan Radio (l) passing the gavel to Carl (r). Carl notes that for the first time in the organization’s history, the RTNDF chairman, RTDNA chairman and RTDNA chair-elect are all radio people as Duffy moves to the Foundation chair for the next year, and the membership elects Amy Tardif of WGCU-FM, Fort Myers as the chair-elect.
Odds & Sods. Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is set to make regular appearances on CBS Radio’s KDKA-FM “Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan.” Every Tuesday he’ll join the “Vinnie & Cook” show at 11:00 am…..Guaranty Broadcasting’s KYPY, Baton Rouge flips from classic country to a simulcast of sister sports talk WNXX “104.5 ESPN”…..New Jersey Devils hockey will continue to be heard on CBS Radio’s WFAN-AM/FM and beyond. The club signs a new, multi-year deal with the station to keep games on for the ninth straight season beginning in October…..Clear Channel moves Portland Trailblazers basketball from news/talk KEX to sister sports talk KPOJ for the coming season to avoid preemptions…..Bob Smith retires from his post as host of “1370 Connection” at pubcaster WXXI, Rochester, New York after a 25-plus-year career with the station. Smith suffered a stroke in April and is still undergoing rehabilitative care.
More Than $3.3 Million Raised in Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon. Entercom sports radio WEEI and regional cable sports channel NESN have teamed up for 12 years to air a two-day radio-telethon to benefit the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. This week’s event helped raise more than $3.3 million – about the same amount raised the year prior. This puts the 12-year total at more than $34 million. Entercom Boston vice president and market manager Jeff Brown states, “The outstanding generosity of our listeners across New England year after year not only supports a great cause but betters the lives of those who need it most. These past two days have been the most emotionally rewarding for the entire WEEI and Entercom Boston family this year. We remain both humbled and thrilled to have played a role in helping the selfless team at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in their fight against cancer.” A check was presented at last night’s Red Sox game. Pictured (from l-r) are: Red Sox owner John Henry, Red Sox chairman Tom Werner, Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino, Entercom Boston VP/market manager Jeff Brown, Jimmy Fund director Suzanne Fountain, WEEI executive producer Joe Zarbano, WEEI director of marketing Adam Ralston, NESN president Sean McGrail, and Wally the Green Monster.
Wilmington, NC Sports Talk Show Adds Saturday Edition. The weekly “Sports Connection” show hosted by Port City Daily sports writer Joe Catenacci adds a Saturday edition that begins a run on Sea-Comm-owned rock WBNE, Wilmington “103.7 The Bone.” Joe Cat’s show began as a co-operative effort between the Port City Daily and Sea-Comm news/talk WNTB and WLTT airing Monday evenings from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Beginning tomorrow (8/31) Catenacci and co-host Cori Stukes will broadcast live every Saturday from Hell’s Kitchen on Princess Street in downtown Wilmington. He says in the Port City Daily, “Over the last eight months, we have connected the local community with some of the top names in sports from across the country. Even with a focus on local, we continue to get some of the household names when it comes to industry. Locally, every high school football, basketball and baseball coach has made an appearance on the show at least once, as well as UNCW coaches and players.”
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is picked up by a number of new affiliate stations, including: WCKG-AM, Chicago; WBAT-AM, Marion, Indiana; KENT-AM, Parowan, Utah; WRSB, Canandaigua, New York; WASB, Bridgeport, New York; W286AE-FM, Fairport, New York; and WNZS, Bangor, Maine…..“Late Night Health Radio” with host Mark Alyn joins the programming lineup at KABC, Los Angeles…..Talk Media Network’s “Frontlines of Freedom” with Lt. Col. Denny Gillem is added to WFPA, Fort Payne, Alabama…..The “Unlock Your Wealth” feature by Heather Wagenhals is added to affiliate stations WPGR, Pittsburgh; KFIV, Modesto and KWSX, Stockton, California; and WEZO, Augusta, Georgia.
U.S. Syria Action Top News/Talk Story for Week of August 26-30. The question of whether the United States should take action against Syria was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was the March on Washington anniversary tied with American race relations. Following at #3 was Miley Cyrus’ performance at the MTV VMAs and at #4 was the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Curtis Wright and George Bell to Launch Wilmington, NC Talk Station Monday. After splitting from Cumulus Media in late 2012 and partnering with area businessman and local Republican activist George Bell, Curtis Wright began producing his “On the Beat” internet talk program from the duo’s Talk Media TV studios in February of this year. Now, Wright and Bell are launching news/talk outlet “My Talker” on class A FM WMYT, Wilmington, North Carolina at 106.7 on Monday July 22. The station will feature Wright’s program in morning drive followed by Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck, Courtside Entertainment’s Laura Ingraham, and Premiere’s Sean Hannity. Other network shows to be carried include: TRN’s Andrea Tantaros, Premiere’s “Coast to Coast AM,” “Handel on the Law,” Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo, Gary Sullivan, Leo Laporte and more.
Former Governor David Paterson Officially Joins ‘AM 970 The Answer’ in New York. The former governor of New York has been co-hosting the 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm show alongside Curtis Sliwa – dubbed “Curtis and the Gov” – for about a month now but Salem Communications announces David Paterson officially joins the WNYM in a permanent capacity. Sliwa, who’s been pulling double duty at the station for some time, will continue to host the morning show solo from 6:00 am to 9:00 am. After leaving the governor’s office, Paterson joined WOR, New York but exited that station when Clear Channel bought it from Buckley Broadcasting. He says of returning to the air, “I am ecstatic at the prospect of returning to talk radio at ‘AM 970 The Answer’ and co-hosting with one of the living legends in the business, Curtis Sliwa. Working with Curtis, as opposed to being a solo host, gives me a wider berth to air my opinions and strike up an interesting back-and-forth with an outspoken and articulate critic on everything.” WNYM VP/GM Jerry Crowley, who hired Paterson while working at WOR, states, “There was no more beloved or recognizable figure in talk radio than the Gov. It’s amazing how fast he became skilled behind the microphone. He created quite a buzz when he first started reading commercials and our clients simply loved it. He was a big part of our success.”
WFAN, New York Prepares to Launch 4th Annual Fantasy Phenom Challenge. CBS Radio sports talk WFAN, New York is kicking off its 4th annual Fantasy Phenom Challenge next week at Modell’s Sporting Goods on Columbus Avenue in New York City. This promotion is a contest for local listeners to show the station their sports talk chops and win a chance to host a program on WFAN. The contest begins Thursday at 12:00 noon at the Columbus Ave. Modell’s location, then moves to the Edgewater, New Jersey location on Saturday, July 27 and to the Plainview, New York location on Tuesday, July 30. At each location the station will audition up to 100 contestants who must deliver a 2-minute rant in front of the judges. Winners move on with the final five competing for the ultimate prize at Mike Francesa’s “End of Summer” bash and radio show broadcast live on-air and online at www.wfan.com from Bar A in Lake Como, New Jersey on Friday, August 23. WFAN operations manager and CBS Radio New York VP of programming Mark Chernoff says, “Once again it’s ‘Fantasy Phenom’ time on ‘The Fan.’ This year we’re partnering with Modell’s Sporting Goods to hold first round auditions at three of their area stores as we look for another grand prize winner who will receive a weekly air shift for a year on WFAN and this year as an added bonus, the winner will receive a two year lease of a brand new Lester Glenn Hyundai. Let the fun begin!”
Walter Sabo Interviewed by Bob Shannon at The Conclave. In a riveting one-on-one presentation, Sabo Media CEO Walter Sabo was interviewed by The Conclave executive director Bob Shannon yesterday (7/18) during the conclusion of the second day of the three-day industry gathering in Minneapolis. Sabo discussed a number of the highlights of his colorful career in radio and explained his view of the evolving relationship between popular culture and video on the internet. The consultant also discussed radio’s need to take more chances on new concepts and stop the practice of playing follow the leader. The Conclave concludes today (7/19) with “Game Day” sessions geared to sports radio and a trip this evening to a Minnesota Twins baseball game.
NRG Media’s ‘1620 The Zone’ in Omaha to Launch Nick Bahe Show. Sports talker KOZN, Omaha “1620 The Zone” announces former Creighton University hoops star Nick Bahe becomes part of the lineup with a daily 11:00 am to 2:00 pm eponymous program. The station says Bahe’s program joins the “entirely live and local” lineup. Bahe’s show follows lead-in “Sharp & Benning” and is followed by “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” with hosts John Bishop and Mike’l Severe in afternoon drive.
Jeff Katz Takes Part in Boston Herald Online Program. Boston-based talk media personality Jeff Katz (most recently with Clear Channel’s former news/talk WXKS-AM, Boston) is pictured here on the set of the Boston Herald’s “Press Party” program that is part of the paper’s online initiative. Seen here (from l-r) are: Joe Battenfeld (formerly of FOX 25/Boston), Jaclyn Cashman (formerly of WWLP-TV/Springfield), Tito Jackson (Boston City Councilor), Katz, and Dr. Bob Rosenthal (Chairman of Suffolk University Communications Department).
Odds & Sods. ESPN Radio – which will broadcast 17 NFL games this season – announces it’ll kick off the season with Tennessee at Pittsburgh on Sunday, September 8…..Cumulus Media’s WWLS, Oklahoma City renews its deal with the NBA’s Thunder to continue serving as flagship station for the team. The two sides recently signed a multi-year agreement that provides for Spanish-language play-by-play on sister WKY.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Update. Pilot Media’s WRPW, Bloomington, Illinois adds “America Tonight” with host Kate Delaney to the program schedule….. WestStar MultiMedia Entertainment’s Kim Komando program adds new affiliates: WWIQ, Philadelphia; KSRO, Santa Rosa, California; KYKN, Kaiser, Oregon and KXLY, Spokane…..Sports talk show “From the Press Box to Press Row” with Donal Ware adds new affiliates KKNO, New Orleans and WVWI, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.
Zimmerman Verdict Aftermath Top News/Talk Story for Week of July 15-19. The aftermath of the George Zimmerman verdict landed atop the Talkers TenTM as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week. Coming in at #2 was the implementation of the Affordable Care Act – ObamaCare. At #3 was the IRS’ scrutiny of conservative groups and individuals and following at #4 was immigration reform and amnesty. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.