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Entercom to Divest 13 Stations in Exchange for Justice Department’s Approval of CBS Radio Acquisition

Entercom to Divest 13 Stations for
Cheyne gateley/Variety

WASHINGTON — Entercom Communications will divest 13 radio stations as part of an agreement with the Justice Department to proceed with its acquisition of CBS Radio.

The settlement with the DOJ, unveiled on Wednesday, requires that Entercom, based in Philadelphia, divest five stations in Boston, four in San Francisco, and four in Sacramento. The merger will give Entercom 235 stations across the country.

Entercom is swapping stations with two other companies, iHeartRadio and Beasley Broadcast Group, as part of the transactions.

“The required divestitures will protect competition for local businesses that advertise on radio stations in Boston, San Francisco, and Sacramento,” said Makan Delrahim, assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s antitrust division. “The elimination of this competition would have resulted in higher prices to businesses in those markets.”

The deal with CBS Radio must still be approved by the FCC. Entercom said it expects the transaction to close as early as Nov. 17.

As part of the exchange agreements, iHeartMedia will acquire WBZ-AM, WZLX-FM, WKAF-FM, and WRKO-AM in Boston in addition to KFNQ-AM, KJAQ-FM, and KZOK-FM in Sacramento. Entercom is acquire iHeartRadio’s WKXJ-FM, WRXR-FM, WUSY-FM, and WNLD-FM in Chattanooga, as well as WBTJ-FM, WRNL-AM, WRVA-AM, WRVQ-FM, WRXL-FM, and WTVR-FM in Richmond.

Beasley will buy WBZ-FM in Boston and Entercom will acquire WMJX-FM in that market.

Earlier this year, Entercom had agreed to sell three of its stations, including classic rocker KSWD Los Angeles (100.3 The Sound), and two country stations, KOOQ in San Diego (which simulcasts on KSON) and WGGY (Froggy 101) in the Scranton-Wilkes Barre, Pa., area.

Entercom has also entered into a local marketing agreement with Bonneville International Corp. to program four stations in San Francisco and four in Sacramento.

“Today’s announcements mark a significant milestone as we work to complete the transformational combination of Entercom and CBS Radio,” said Entercom president and CEO David Field in a statement. “While it is necessary to divest certain stations in order to secure regulatory approval, it is difficult to part ways with so many strong brands and, most importantly, their talented people.”

Entercom’s transaction with CBS was announced in February. The merger is an all-stock transaction.