Decisions about which stations Entercom will keep, spin or sell after its merger with CBS Radio remain a work in progress. But the list of stations being placed into a trust offer a first look at which assets may potentially make the company’s “final 14.” That’s the number of stations it estimated will need to be separated to finalize the $1.7 billion deal.
With a list that includes 43 stations—more than three times as many than is required for divestiture—it suggests CEO David Field is willing to play let’s make a deal, even if it includes some of the biggest brands in the combined company’s portfolio. The company could also spin off even more stations than it’s required to.
Here’s what’s made the not-so-short list:
Los Angeles: Classic rock “100.3 The Sound” KSWD and adult hits “93.1 Jack FM” KCBS-FM. Entercom will need to sell one FM.
San Francisco: Four FMs will need to be sold in the Bay Area but Entercom is giving itself plenty of options. On the list of stations being parked in the trust are urban AC KBLX-FM (102.9), sports “95.7 FM The Game” KGMZ, AC KOIT (96.5), modern rock “Live 105” KITS, hot AC “Alice @ 97.3” KLLC, CHR “99.7 Now” KMVQ-FM, rhythmic AC “Q-102.1” KRBQ, classic rock “98.5 K-Fox” KUFX, all-news KCBS (740) and its simulcast KFRC-FM (106.9), and the brokered ethnic “Radio Zindagi” KZDG (1550).
Boston: Just two FMs will need to be sold but Entercom has earmarked a lot more stations to be placed into the trust including some AMs. The list includes “98.5 The Sports Hub” WBZ-FM, WAAF (107.3), classic rock WZLX (100.7), sports WEEI-FM&AM (93.7, 850), hot AC “Mix 104.1” WBMX, urban AC “The New 97.7” WKAF, “News Talk 1030” WBZ, and talk WRKO (680).
Seattle: Two FMs will need to be sold but four times as many stations are being putting into the trust, including rhythmic AC “Hot 103.7” KHTP, “99.9 The Rock” KISW, country “100.7 The Wolf” KKWF, modern rock “107.7 The End” KNDD, adult hits “96.5 Jack FM” KJAQ, “Country 94.1” KMPS-FM, classic rock KZOK-FM (102.5), and sports “The Fan 1090” KFNQ.
Sacramento: Entercom will need to sell three FMs but it has filed plans to put more than triple that number into the trust. The list includes rhythmic CHR KSFM (102.5), “New Country 105.1” KNCI, AC “Mix 96” KYMX, hot AC “Now 100.5” KZZO, modern rock “Radio 94.7” KKDO, “98.5 Rock” KRXQ, classic rock “Eagle 96.9” KSEG, CHR “106.5 The End” KUDL, “CBS Sports Radio 1140” KHTK and “ESPN Sports 1320” KIFM. Entercom previously announced plans to turn in the license for the now-silent KDND (107.9).
San Diego: Entercom needs to sell one FM in the market and KSOQ-FM (92.1) is the clear-cut choice, especially since it’s the only station being placed into the trust. KSOQ-FM currently simulcasts country KSON (97.1).
Wilkes Barre-Scranton: CBS Radio doesn’t own any stations in market No. 76 but the deal sacrifices Entercom’s grandfathered cluster so it will need to sell one FM. The company says it plans to sell WGGI (95.9), which currently simulcasts country sister “Froggy 101” WGGY.
Each of the stations will be placed into TDC Communications, a trust run by broker Elliot Evers, for sale or swaps. While Entercom tells investors that it thinks the sale or spinoff of 14 stations is all that’s required to meet FCC ownership limits, the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division will also review the merger with an eye toward capping the combined company from exceeding a 40% share of radio billings in any one market.
Field has told analysts there has been “early interest” in potential divestitures but the final list isn’t likely to become clear until the company has a better read on what’s required by regulators in the coming months. Swaps may also be more advantageous for Entercom as well since they could be structured as tax-free deals, which would allow the company to either enter a new market or expand existing clusters.
The merger still requires approval from Entercom shareholders. No date has been announced for that vote although it could be added to the company’s May 10 annual meeting agenda.