Monday, July 1, 2019

Tampa, Orlando Radio: Cox Media ID's Two Spin-offs

Cox Media Group has identified the two stations it plans to spin off to secure regulatory approval for the sale of its entire radio division to an investor group led by Apollo Global Management. To comply with local FCC ownership rules, Cox will divest alternative WSUN 97X Tampa and CHR WPYO Power 95.3 in Orlando.

WSUN is the lowest rated Cox FM in Tampa, with a 2.0 share (6+) in Nielsen’s May survey. In Orlando, WPYO does better, posting a 5.4 share (6+) to rank seventh in the market and third of the five Cox FMs in the market.

Spinning off WPYO would leave four Orlando FMs under Cox Media Group ownership. News WDBO 96.5 FM, ESPN Sports WDBO 580 AM, Country WWKA K92-3 FM, Classic Hits WMMO 98.9 FM and UrbanAC WCFB Star 94.5 FM. The cluster also includes “107.3 Solo Exitos” which airs on translator W297BB fed by WCFB’s HD2 channel.

In Tampa, the Cox cluster will be reduced from six FMs to five: CHR WPOI Hot 101.5 FM, Classic Rock  WXGL 107.3 FM, SoftAC WDUV 105.5 The Dove, AC WWRM Magic 94.9 and Guy Talk WHPT 102.5 The Bone.

There’s no obvious buyer for WSUN among existing Tampa radio operators. Both Beasley Media Group and iHeartMedia are each maxed out at five FMs. In Orlando, Entercom could add WPYO to its three existing FMs. iHeart is maxed. JVC Media, which has been growing its presence in the Sunshine State, could also be a possible suitor. It owns Country WOTW The Wolf 1031 FM.

Both WSUN and WPYO are expected to be put into a station trust. Should the FCC loosen local ownership limits as part of its quadrennial review before they are sold, the stations could conceivably remain with their current cluster mates, according to InsideRadio.

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