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Airwaves: November 18, 2005

ABC Radio on the block

The rumor is true: ABC Radio stations, as well as the ABC Radio Network, are for sale. Suitors include Entercom and Emmis, but Cumulus Media is the frontrunner, at least according to published reports.

If Cumulus does win the bidding -- and so far that's still a big if, what does it mean for local stations such as KABC and KLOS? In the short term, probably nothing. This will be the first Cumulus stations in Los Angeles, and Cumulus does not appear to be a company to make quick wholesale changes. However, longterm is anyone's guess.

Just be thankful that Clear Channel or Infinity aren't in on the bidding, at least so far: both are already at their Los Angeles market cap, so if either bought ABC Radio they'd have to sell off every one of the stations ... and the MO for both companies is to sell only to those who agree not to compete directly with them. Generally that means selling to religious or foreign-lauguage groups.

This would mark the second large purchase in recent weeks for Cumulus, which just finished purchasing Susquehanna Radio for $1.2 billion. Radio Disney and ESPN Radio are not part of the deal.

New FM Talk

It might not happen here, but then again it just might: Clear Channel is working on launching an FM talk station in Minneapolis at the start of the new year. Smooth Jazz KJZI will become KTLK-FM with hosts such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity as well as local people.

Spreading Influence

KFI doesn't just dominate the talk format here in Los Angeles COunty. A quick look at the ratings for Riverside and San Bernardino show that it dominates there as well. And not just in talk, as the station consistently earns either number one or number two there.

Not bad for a station whose signal is still compromised in that area due to a tower collapse late last year. KFI has been running on lower power since a plane hit their tower and knocked it down in December, 2004.

For Sale

KMXE (830 AM) is for sale. The station was once home to Radio Aahs children's programming and later became Spanish. But it has never been a ratings or commercial success since it launched in the mid 1980s.


Copyright © 2005 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.

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