Will Townsquare Buy More Radio Stations?


That’s one of the questions we put to CEO Bill Wilson in the most recent issue of Radio Ink Magazine. Wilson was our 2021 Radio Executive of The Year. In addition to talking digital, when investors will return to radio and surviving a pandemic, we asked Wilson if he plans on growing the company by buying more stations. Here’s what he had to say…

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Radio Ink: Can you see the company buying more stations over the years?
Wilson: Definitely. Currently we are evaluating some great radio stations and markets for a potential acquisition. I am a significant believer in radio. There are so many reasons for that belief, including seeing each day the power of local DJs and local content, and the positive impact on clients in helping them grow their business leveraging the number one reach medium in the U.S., as radio is the best return on investment for top-of-the-funnel brand awareness, hands down. So many reasons why I am a believer in radio, and thus why we will acquire and buy more stations over the coming years.

For Townsquare, radio is also a Trojan horse to building our digital business. We would never have had our success in digital without the power of radio. Radio’s local connection is unparalleled. People talk about the trustworthiness of the DJs. When our DJs talk about a topic on air, people react to them in incredible ways. If our DJs say it’s something they believe in, people will follow them.

There’s a whole influencer industry created over the past few years on the backs of what on-air radio talent has been doing for decades. I believe that will become apparent to more people moving forward.
The challenge for the industry is to continue to invest in radio based on the economic situation. Eight cents of every dollar goes to radio in terms of local advertising. Thus broadcast spots can’t be your only revenue solution.

In order to continue to invest in people, building out a stronger and bigger team, you need to diversify your revenue stream so you can have strong revenue growth — whether that’s digital or something else, but companies in our industry need to do that. I know many companies and leaders in the industry are doing just that. At your Forecast conference a few months back, there was a panel of independent operators, particularly radio leaders including John Caracciolo and Bud Walters, who were inspiring to me given how they are diversifying their business now. Just like the pandemic accelerated transformation for Townsquare, it also did that for independent operators, as evidenced by that panel.

Fast-forward five to 10 years, and I am confident that the power of radio, and how it is unique and differentiated, will be more apparent to many more investors. TV used to have 96% reach in America just a few years ago, yet by 2020 the reach of 25 to 54-year-olds dropped to 77%, and many predict, with cord-cutting, that will drop into the 50% range within five years. While radio continues its powerful connection to communities and is the number one reach medium.

To me, the power of radio is undeniable. So yes, you can expect us to be buying
more radio stations in the future.

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