What the CBS Radio and Entercom Merger Means for Philly and Listeners
Almost a year after CBS first announced plans to sell or spinoff its radio assets, the company has finally struck a deal. CBS Radio, which owns popular Philadelphia stations like KYW News Radio, classic hits station WOGL 98.1-FM, and sports radio 94WIP, will merge with the mega radio company Entercom.
Entercom’s portfolio of radio stations is so vast that the merger will give the chain a nationwide footprint of 244 stations from Seattle to Miami, in 23 of the country’s top 25 markets. That includes CBS’ current lineup of 117 stations in markets like Atlanta, Baltimore, and Chicago. The two companies only overlapped in seven markets. The deal will make Entercom the second-largest radio station owner in the U.S., behind the popular outlet iHeartMedia.
So what does this mean for listeners? Not much. As things stand right now, your radio routine won’t be interrupted. The company says it wants to better serve its listeners in the rapidly changing media landscape.
Entercom president and CEO David J. Field, called the merger a “perfect strategic and cultural fit,” one that will enable them to “drive accelerated growth” and deliver local connection on a national scale.
Radio isn’t dead. If anything, it’s evolving as it faces competition from music listeners who opt for streaming services like Apple Music or Spotify. A Nielson report from 2015 found that the national radio audience hit an all-time high for the second year in a row, with 245 million Americans using radio every week.
According to Field, Entercom will be able to compete more effectively with other media when the CBS stations join the family.
And fun fact: both CBS Radio and Entercom have Philly roots. Entercom is located in Bala Cynwood, and CBS’s founder William S. Paley, lived in Philadelphia when he started the broadcasting system in 1928. He also went to Penn. CBS radio is back home, and with the second-largest radio station owner in town, touting a combined market cap of over $2 billion, Philly’s shaping up to be a media stronghold.
CBS chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves said the deal separates the company’s radio business “in the best way possible.”
The combined company will be headquartered at Entercom’s Bala Cynwood offices. The deal is expected to close during the second half of 2017.
Follow @fabiolacineas on Twitter.