So, it's good to know we're not alone in our speculation.
When OMW first published the list of markets where CBS Radio is aiming to exit, Cincinnati stuck out like that proverbial sore thumb to us. Oh, Columbus as well, but especially Cincinnati.
We had a thought: Wouldn't THAT be an interesting return to major market radio for one Randy Michaels?
Mr. Michaels, of course, is the long-time former head of Clear Channel's radio division, going back to the "make some noise" days at Jacor. He's usually credited with building Clear Channel's current Cincinnati cluster into a monster, and in particular the "monster" known as the original "Big One", talk WLW/700. Though started by someone else, and funded by a wealthy investor (one Sam Zell), Jacor as a whole was largely Randy's creation.
Though a native of the Buffalo area, he ran Clear Channel's radio division out of suburban Cincinnati (Covington KY), and the Queen City is considered his hometown.
After leaving Clear Channel, Michaels has slowly been building suburban Cincinnati-based RadioActive LLC, by bidding on various FM auction licenses in cities much smaller than Cincinnati. Is RadioActive about to get a lot more "Active" in the major markets, by buying one or more clusters from CBS? Maybe as many as all 10 markets CBS is putting up for sale?
Randy getting "back in the game" is being hinted by at least a couple of trade publications. We don't have any "inside" information to back up that speculation, but if Randy's looking to get back into it, this would be a decent opportunity.
He's also been getting into the programming game, with his "Product 1st (P1)" owning the rights to Jones Radio-syndicated liberal talker Ed Schultz. And he'd been rumored to be involved in a possible takeover of the LMA of New York City liberal talker WLIB/1190, Air America's flagship station.
Randy's diverse, though...and buying the Cincinnati CBS cluster, in specific, would more likely provide him with the opportunity to use the company's big FM stations to compete head on with similar Clear Channel stations. Mr. Michaels was a significant player at now-CBS Radio's WKRQ "Q102", before he scooted across to Jacor, with the company's former Cincinnati cluster now owned by Clear Channel. Needless to say, he knows both groups pretty well...first hand.
Randy Michaels often gets a bad rap in this business, particularly for his implementation of Clear Channel directives like widespread voicetracking while he ran the radio division there.
But from what we know and have heard of him, he's actually a firm believer in the content and programming side of radio. With his own money, and without San Antonio handing down its philosophy, this might be a whole new ballgame...