Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Report: Cumulus Deal Signals Life In Radio Industry

When Atlanta-based Cumulus Media sealed its $2.4 billion acquisition of Citadel Broadcasting last month, analysts welcomed it as a sign of life in the battered radio industry.

They also weren’t surprised about who was behind the move, according to a story by Margaret Newkirk at

A scion of a family radio dynasty from Ohio, Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey Jr. has a reputation for zigging when others zag — and for taking gambles with acquisitions. A three-year buying spree in off-the-beaten-path markets in the late 1990s both created the company in the first place and nearly brought it to its knees, before Dickey’s deal-making stabilized it again.

The newest acquisition is Dickey’s biggest yet. It will nearly double Cumulus’ station holdings, from 347 to 572. But its impact goes further than that.

Cumulus will remain the country’s second-largest radio company in terms of stations. But Las Vegas-based Citadel’s stations are in bigger markets. Citadel also owns what was once the ABC broadcasting network.

Cumulus is swallowing an elephant.

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