A station negation

After park purge, Eye to sell radio stations

A day after unloading its theme parks, CBS said Tuesday that it’s putting 39 radio stations on the block.

The stations, in 10 midsize markets including Cincinnati, Memphis and Austin, Texas, will be sold off so CBS can focus on bigger markets, where the radio giant is waging war against terrestrial competish like Clear Channel as well as satcasters Sirius and XM.

Radio unit was a poor performer for CBS in most recent quarter as revenue dropped 6%.

Given the size of these markets — and the fact that many radio giants already are bursting at the seams — observers expect the company to receive comparatively little for the stations.

Still, move would bolster CBS’ overall cash position as it comes into its own as a separate company. The Redstone-run conglom will net $1.24 billion, all in cash, for the sale of theme-parks biz Paramount Parks to Ohio amusements firm Cedar Fair, which it announced Monday.

What all the cash will be used for remains an open question. Topper Leslie Moonves has been emphatic that all acquisitions would be “tuck-in,” but definition of that remains elusive. Company likely will use cash for dividend increases and as a funding source for its pricey network programming.

In other Sumner Redstone-related news, Viacom chief financial officer Mike Dolan told an investor confab Tuesday that his company will, indeed, be on the prowl for acquisitions.

Continuing a theme articulated by topper Tom Freston, Dolan told the confab the company is interested in digital acquisitions as well as purchases that would expand its footprint internationally.

Company has been heavily touting purchase of firms including Neopets and is arguably second among congloms only to News Corp. in its aggressive buying of new-media firms. It recently announced it would acquire Xfire, an instant messaging service aimed at gamers.

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