CBS RADIO to Merge with Entercom; Move Creates 244-Station Company, Second Largest Based on Revenue. The rumors of a CBS Radio–Entercom merger turn out to be true as the two firms announce a stunning deal to make Entercom the second largest radio company – based on revenue – in the nation with 244 Stations, including 23 of the top 25 markets. CBS Corp’s plans for spinning off the radio division via an IPO never really took off, probably due to the fact that radio is not viewed by investors as a growth industry. This merger will be tax free for CBS as it’s being accomplished through a Reverse Morris Trust. Here’s how it will work: CBS shareholders will have the opportunity to exchange all, some, or none of their CBS shares for CBS Radio shares. Immediately following the completion of this exchange offer, CBS Radio will merge with an Entercom subsidiary, with the new CBS Radio shareholders receiving Entercom shares in exchange for their CBS Radio shares in the transaction. After completion of the merger, CBS Radio shareholders will receive approximately 105 million Entercom shares, or 72% of all outstanding shares of the combined company on a fully diluted basis. Existing Entercom shareholders will own 28% of the combined company on a fully diluted basis. The big question for CBS Radio staffers at the corporate level is how this merger – expected to close sometime during the second half of this year – affects their positions. Obviously, there will be redundancy at the corporate level, but how Entercom will ultimately choose to organize its corporate staff remains to be seen. Media consultant Holland Cooke monitored this morning’s investors conference call during which Entercom president and CEO David Field stated that the company expects to realize “$25 million in synergies [cost cuts] within 12-18 months,” mostly in corporate administration. Field noted that there will be 15 divestitures in markets where CBS and Entercom together own more stations than permitted under the FCC ownership cap. As for the news/talk and all-news stations soon to be owned by Entercom, Field called them “trusted pillars of their local communities” and “seven of the most-trusted all-news stations in the U.S.” He referred to the local, on-air talk talent as “major influencers with strong connections to their audiences.” From today’s press release we know that Andre Fernandez will remain president of CBS Radio through the closing. The presser also stated that the combined company will be known as Entercom and will be headquartered in Philadelphia, “with a significant ongoing presence in New York.” Upon closing, the company’s Board of Directors will consist of nine members: five current Entercom directors, including David Field as Chairman of the Board, and four directors nominated by CBS Radio. Entercom president and CEO Field states, “These two great companies, with their impressive histories, complementary assets, and premier content and brands, are a perfect strategic and cultural fit, enabling us to deliver local connection on a national scale and drive accelerated growth. We look forward to welcoming our talented new colleagues at CBS Radio, and we have the utmost respect for their significant contributions to the industry. Radio reaches more Americans than any other medium, and offers advertisers outstanding ROI and local activation. This transformational transaction creates scale-driven efficiencies and opportunities to compete more effectively with other media to better serve our listeners and our advertisers. The combination of a compelling strategic fit, an excellent balance sheet, and robust free cash flow generation, position us to create significant shareholder value for our investors.”
Cumulus Names Brian Joyce PM Drive Host at ‘NewsRadio 106.7’ in Atlanta. Beginning Monday, February 13, talk radio personality Brian Joyce will begin hosting the afternoon talk show on Cumulus Media’s WYAY, Atlanta “NewsRadio 106.7.” Joyce is currently the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm host at the company’s WGOW, Chattanooga “Talk Radio 102.3.” He will continue in that role as well. It’s unclear if Joyce will move to Atlanta or remain in Chattanooga and do the WYAY show from there. The current afternoon show is “Atlanta News” featuring news pro Cheryl Castro and station program director Greg Tantum. It’s unclear if Castro will remain with the new show. Cumulus Media Atlanta vice president and market manager Sean Shannon states, “We live in a world where dialogue on matters of substance has become increasingly difficult, with politically slanted news/talk outlets and social media platforms that feed consumers with stories that confirm their existing political belief systems. ‘NewsRadio 106.7’ breaks that confounding and polarizing mold. We are committed to delivering a forum ruled not by any agenda or by an algorithm, but by the unique value we can create for our listeners. We present multiple sides of the story when we’re delivering the news, ensuring we both inform existing opinions and provoke opposing opinions on every side of the story. In the process, we create a rare media experience facilitating respectful and spirited discourse where there is as much value in listening as there is in talking.” Speaking about this new position, Joyce says, “I’m looking forward to joining [hosts] Shannon [Burke], Kimmer and the rest of the team at ‘NewsRadio 106.7!’ These guys have built a unique and entertaining lineup for the listeners of Atlanta, and it’s my hope that my show will continue to build on the great programming and strong ratings they’re known for.”
CNN Dips into a Slice of Conservative Talk Radio to Get a Read on Caller Opinion About Trump Moves. Last night’s installment of CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360” presented a string of listener calls on WPHT, Philadelphia talk host Dom Giordano’s show presenting an array of opinions about Donald Trump’s moves as president focusing on the role of key strategist Stephen K. Bannon. To view the segment, please click here.
Stephanie Miller Show Joins WMLB, Atlanta. WMLB, Atlanta is owned by JW Broadcasting, airs a variety format and is branded “AM 1690 The Voice of the Arts.” Beginning February 20, the WYM Media Management-syndicated Stephanie Miller show begins airing from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon. Miller’s program aired on the station in the past when it was an Air America affiliate. WMLB general manager Jeff Davis comments, “Given recent events, the timing is perfect for a progressive voice on Atlanta radio. We’re thrilled to have a recognized professional who’s built a reputation for standing up for liberal causes.” On a related note, Stephanie Miller is preparing to embark on her second consecutive year touring as the headline of the Stephanie Miller Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour. The 2017 tour is titled, “The Sexy Liberal Resistance Tour.”
Cody Welling to Lead Cumulus Media’s Shreveport Cluster. This move takes sales and management pro Cody Welling from Cumulus Media’s Toledo cluster where he’s been serving as director of sales to the company’s Shreveport, Louisiana station group consisting of sports talk KRMD-AM/K264AS “The Ticket,” hip hop KMJJ, CHR KQHN “i97.3,” urban contemporary KVMA “Magic 102.9,” and country KRMD-FM. Cumulus regional vice president Mark Sullivan says, “This is a terrific move for the company and for Cody. Cody’s strong track record of success and dynamic management style are already paying dividends in Shreveport and I look forward to his success and professional growth as our VP/market manager.”
TALKERS News Notes. This year’s 5th annual “Larry Richert Honors our Hometown Heroes,” presented by the KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh morning drive personality, takes place on Thursday, March 2, at the Lexus Club at PPG Paints Arena. Each year, the event honors five individuals who are giving back to the local community in extraordinary ways. The keynote address will be presented by CBS News chief White House correspondent Major Garrett. This is Garrett’s second appearance at “Larry’s Heroes.” In 2015, Garrett was scheduled to appear but a late winter storm kept him in Washington, D.C. Instead, he addressed attendees via video from the snow-covered White House lawn. Richert states, “It’s our fifth year to shine the spotlight on ordinary individuals in the community doing extraordinary things. This year’s edition may be one of our strongest collections of heroes assembled. Their contributions to our community are awe inspiring.”…..This is the fourth consecutive year that Westwood One is presenting the Westwood One Sports Sound Awards in which it challenges its advertisers to push their creative boundaries to create the best commercials to air during its Super Bowl LI broadcast. WW1 is driving fans and a panel of advertising professionals to TheSoundAwards.com to vote for their favorite ads, all leading up to the big reveal of the top five the day after Super Sunday. Voting runs through Monday, February 6…..WIP-FM, Philadelphia’s Wing Bowl 25 gets underway tomorrow (2/3) at 6:00 am at the Wells Fargo Center and will feature an appearance by special guests professional wrestler Ric Flair and Grammy Award-winning artist Coolio. Wing Bowl 25’s “Legends Division” (with legendary Wing Bowl eaters returning from the past) will feature a head-to-head competition between five-time champ El Wingador and two-time champ Molly Schuyler for a prize of $5000. National recording artist and retired Navy Petty Officer First Class Generald Wilson will perform the National Anthem. WIP morning show host Al Morganti, who co-founded Wing Bowl 25 years ago with radio partner Angelo Cataldi says, “Trust me. Just be here. That’s all I can say. Be here.”
Gorsuch SCOTUS Nomination, DeVos Nomination Status, Tillerson New Secretary of State, Iran Missile Test, Beyonce Pregnancy Pic, and Super Bowl LI Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/1). President Donald Trump’s nomination of U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court and speculation about how Democrats will handle it; two senators announce they will not support Betsy DeVos for Education Secretary, possibly endangering her chances of assuming the post; Rex Tillerson is confirmed and sworn in as the new Secretary of State; the U.S. puts Iran “on notice” for its latest missile test; Beyonce posts a nude photo of herself to announce she’s pregnant with twins; and the build-up to Super Bowl LI were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Tucson.com reports that Tucson market radio pro Bobby Rich was let got from his afternoon drive gig with Scripps Broadcasting’s hot AC KMXZ “94.9 MIXfm.” Rich posted a Facebook message explaining that he “made a big mistake and said something I should not have said. Even though I regret it and apologized, I own it, and now it becomes necessary for my association with ‘MIXfm’ and Scripps Tucson to conclude.” Rich would not elaborate on what he said – or in what context…..Curtis Media Group brings Jud Heussler aboard to program CHR simulcast “Pulse FM” – WWPL, Goldsboro/WPLW, Hillsboro, North Carolina (Raleigh-Durham market). Heussler has been with Entercom’s Bufflo CHR WKSE “KISS 98.5” serving as APD, music director and afternoon personality…..In the Corpus Christi, Texas market Convergent Broadcasting II, LLC announces its intent to sell CHR KKPN, classic rock KPUS, and classic hits KAJE to ICA Radio Ltd. for a sum yet to be announced…..iHeartMedia’s urban contemporary WKKV, Milwaukee “V100.7” is presenting the 6th Annual Family Affair Expo on Saturday, March 11at The Wisconsin Center. The event will feature local exhibitors in the areas of health & wellness, finance, education, small business, and recruitment to help make a positive impact on Milwaukee families. Station PD Bailey Coleman says, “I love our Family Affair Expo because it’s fun and free, plus it brings our listeners together with the resources their families need to succeed.”
NOW PLAYING: A Video Tribute to Herb Oscar Anderson. “Radio’s Best Friend” Art Vuolo produced a wonderful tribute to the recently departed New York City radio legend Herb Oscar Anderson, who died on Saturday (1/28) in Bennington, Vermont. Anderson was a radio performer who cut his teeth in the big band era but transitioned to rock ‘n’ roll radio in the 1950s. He worked at WABC during the late 1950s and 1960s – leaving in 1968. He most recently hosted a standards show on WOSC, Vero Beach, Florida. View Vuolo’s video tribute in the Talkers TV box in the upper right-hand of this main page.