Thursday, February 23, 2017

Entercom CEO: Advertisers To 'Rediscover' Radio

David Field
Entercom Communications Corp. CEO David Field said Wednesday that the radio industry has been "punching below its weight class" by capturing only about 7 percent of the advertising share, and that he seeks to boost radio's share to 8 percent to 10 percent with his company's CBS Radio deal.

"There is a potential for radio to be rediscovered" by advertisers, Field said.

On Feb. 2, family-controlled Entercom announced it would merge with CBS Radio as part of a $4 billion tax-free stock deal. CBS is splitting off its radio operations to focus on television and streaming.

According to, Field said the merged entity, based in Bala Cynwyd, will be financially stable and locally focused on its audiences as the nation's No. 2 radio-station group, after debt-laden iHeartMedia.

Entercom/CBS Radio expects to sell 14 radio stations in six markets to comply with regulations of the Federal Communications Commission, which must approve the deal. The merged entity will own about 245 stations in most of the nation's top media markets. Shareholders in CBS Corp. and Entercom also have to approve it.

In a conference call Wednesday, Field told analysts that radio has a broad national reach and loyal daytime listeners but has "suffered from inaccurate perceptions and failed to grasp its vibrancy and effectiveness."

With CBS Radio, Field said, Entercom will have the scale to compete with other ad-based media and move the dial on perceptions. CBS Radio is about double the size of Entercom, which does not own radio stations in its hometown, Philadelphia. After the deal, Entercom — which has flown under the radar in this area for decades — will control the six Philadelphia CBS Radio stations, including all-news KYW and sports-talk WIP.

RadioWorld report the company is now focused on its pending merger, Field said, which is expected to be completed in the second half of 2017. The combined Entercom/CBS Radio will have 244 stations and operate in 23 of the top 25 radio markets, it says. The transaction is still subject to regulatory and Entercom stockholder approvals. The combination is expected to create the second largest radio group in terms of revenue in the country, trailing only iHeartMedia.

“We’ve already begun the early phases of transition and integration. This is going to be an impressive company with sufficient scale to compete with the likes of iHeartMedia and other larger national media. Going forward we will be positioned to capitalize on the rapidly growing areas of digital and events,” Field said.

He has been traveling with a team of Entercom executives to CBS Radio markets to visit properties; he noted that the company has handed back to the FCC the license of KDND(FM) in Sacramento, Calif., to help facilitate the CBS merger. Circumstances surrounding surrender of the license gained attention due to challenges filed with the FCC against the station’s license renewal. KDND gained notoriety for a fatality associated with a promotion called “Hold Your Wee for a Wii” contest in 2007. Several groups targeted the station’s license renewal process.

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