Monday, January 23, 2006

Report: ABC Radio Stations To Be Sold To Citadel

Yet another "ABC Radio is about to sell its stations" report, though this one seems closer to actually happening.

The New York Times business section reports that Disney may be near a nearly $3 billion deal to sell off its owned and operated radio stations to Citadel, the nation's 5th largest group owner. (Free registration is required to access the full story.)

Despite wording in the article, it's never really been clear if ABC intends on selling its other radio assets, including its ABC Radio syndication arm (Sean Hannity et al.) and the ESPN Radio and Radio Disney chains. ABC could retain the latter two networks, if they're seen more as promotional arms of the ESPN TV network and the Disney brand. It's also not clear, at this point, how this affects ABC Radio's sizeable news division. Even the reported "near sale" is not really solid news at this point, as the Times says the negotiations could still break down and go another way.

There isn't a lot of impact in Northeast Ohio on any level. Disney/ABC owns just one radio station in Northeast Ohio - Radio Disney outlet WWMK/1260 in Cleveland. Down the road in Western Pennsylvania, they own sports talk WEAE/1250 "ESPN 1250" Pittsburgh, and operate Birach Broadcasting's Radio Disney affiliate in that market, WWCS/540 Canonsburg.

Citadel owns no properties anywhere in Ohio. They have a cluster in Erie, and some stations in Michigan and Indiana.

ABC Radio's newscasts air on a number of local stations, and ESPN Radio airs locally on WKNR/850 Cleveland and WTIG/990 Massillon. ABC's Sean Hannity airs in Northeast Ohio on WHLO/640 Akron and WEOL/930 Elyria.

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