Entercom Turns To EMF For First Divestiture


    Entercom is divesting three stations to Educational Media Foundation. They are: KSWD-FM 100.3 The Sound in Los Angeles, KSOQ-FM 92.1 in San Diego, and WGGI-FM 95.9 in Wilkes-Barre. The deal is the first of what will probably be several spin-offs to allow Entercom to complete its merger with CBS in order to stay under FCC caps in several markets.

    Back in February Entercom announced there were six markets where the company needed to divest about 15 stations. Those markets are: Boston, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, and Seattle. Wilkes-Barre was not part of that original announcement but that doesn’t mean Entercom CEO David Field won’t do a little more dealing, especially if it means he can bulk up the company even more after the CBS merger is complete.

    In the Tuesday press release announcing the EMF deal, Field said, “We have made great progress towards the completion of our merger with CBS Radio and this agreement with EMF brings us one step closer to the finish line. We remain on track to close the CBS Radio transaction later this year and confident in the value-creating opportunities presented by this transformational combination.”

    EMF is a non-profit organization that operates radio networks specializing in adult contemporary Christian music, including K-LOVE and Air1. As of September 26, 2017, EMF owns and operates some 770 FM stations and translators.

    With EMF adding to its footprint in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Wilkes-Barre, EMF CEO Mike Novak commented, “We are particularly excited to see what God has in store for the people of Los Angeles, through our new station, Positive & Encouraging K-LOVE at 100.3 FM. The people at Entercom have been a joy making this purchase possible.”

    On February 2, 2017, Entercom announced an agreement to combine with CBS Radio Inc. in an all-stock transaction which is expected to be tax-free to CBS and its shareholders. The merger will make Entercom a leading local media and entertainment company with a nationwide footprint of 240 stations, with strong positions in virtually all of the top 50 markets, as well as robust digital capabilities and a growing events platform.

    MVP Capital, LLC acted as a financial adviser to Entercom for this transaction.


    1. Hey Robert. . .

      It seems that most smart broadcasters will reach out to “friendly competitors” for their spinoffs. Back in 2003 Clear Channel was running 15 signals from its San Diego building. When the FCC said that LMAs were counted as owned station they slowly sold off extra signals to other broadcasters..many of them programming to Hispanics. With Entercom’s sale to EMF it not only takes out another commercial signal from each market, it also means that fewer stations will be fighting for those ratings and revenue. Smart move.

    2. Wow, the sale of KSWD/The Sound to EMF is a big surprise. There is not one industry insider or analyst I am aware of who predicted that it would be EMF picking up the big L.A. prize. The most common scenario for KSWD, put forward by several prognosticators, was that it would be a part of a swap with another broadcaster, such as Cumulus, for the standalone KRBE, in Houston. There were a couple other swap possibilities posited, as well.

      And, I will crow a little bit, for myself. I early and accurately predicted that EMF would be the broadcaster that would pick up KSOQ, in North San Diego County. KSOQ is a perfect fit to fill out the northern part of the market that EMF’s other format, Air1, does not reach from stations in nearby Julian and Campo, in the eastern and southern parts of the market, respectively. (The K-Love format is already in the San Diego market, on the full-market KLVJ-FM 102.1, formerly KPRI.) I used to work in the San Diego market, so I strongly felt that EMF would be the leading pursuer of KSOQ.


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