Tuesday, August 22, 2006

And It Trickles Out...

FMQB now weighs in with a small item on the OMW Story of the Year, the big station swap between Cumulus and Clear Channel in Ohio and Michigan:

Clear Channel and Cumulus have worked out a complex swap of stations, where CC's Ann Arbor, MI and Battle Creek, MI clusters are being traded for Cumulus' Canton, OH stations. Clear Channel owns four stations in each of the Michigan cities. Sources tell FMQB an LMA is set for Friday, September 1.

Note that the FMQB folks say "Cumulus' Canton, OH stations".

On the company's website, WRQK/106.9, WQXK/105.1 and WSOM/600 are broken out as the company's "Canton Salem" cluster. This, despite the fact that both of the latter stations are operated out of the Cumulus "Radio Center" building on Simon Road in Youngstown.

While the math makes more sense with K105 and WSOM in the trade mix, we have yet to hear any of our sources confirm their presence in the swap deal...and we've already outlined at least one or two good reasons for each company that those two stations could not be involved.

Could we - and our sources - be wrong on this? Well, at last check, we are not perfect. But we're still hearing even today, after WRQK employees found out about the sale officially for the first time, that it's the only Cumulus station in Northeast Ohio going to Clear Channel.

Stay tuned...


VODood said...

Well, I for one thought it strange that CC would trade two clusters for one station. WRQK isn't worth that much. Unless there's $$$ as part of the deal that's not been disclosed.

Anonymous said...

WQXK/WSOM are listed as the "Canton, Ohio" cluster to satisfy the Dept. Of Justice classificaton requirements. When consolidation began, the FCC and the DOJ both had regulatory jurisdiction. The FCC on the technical and geographic side, and the DOJ on the revenue side. In order to satisfy the DOJ requirements, WQXK and WSOM were listed as "Canton" stations because of WQXK's dual market status. WQXK still pulls a significant chunk of revenue from Canton and therefore that had to be accounted for. I'm also skeptical as to the number of stations Clear Channel will be trading. Some sources say three, some say six.
One thing that I think everyone's sure of, and that is that it would be ludicrous to break up WQXK/WYFM in Youngstown, which accounts for a dominating share of the 25-54 demographic and more than 50 percent of revenue pie, for some small stations in Michigan. Anything's possible, but K-105 is a cash cow and giving it up would be stupid.

Anonymous said...

The above posters are both correct. Vodood is rightin questioning why they would give two clusters for one station. Anonymous is correct in the reasoning behind why K-105/ WSOM was counted the way that it was. With WPIC-AM constructing a new tower/transmitter/equipment, and them trying to move WWIZ to Hermitge,I can see why rock 107 was sold. By selling rock 107, they then could recive permission to move rock 104 closer since rock 107 overlapped too much the other Cumulus owned Youngstown stations. That and the fact they could not get another station in Canton. BTW OMW here is a update on WPIC Sharon/Youngstown's new tower in case you want to cover the story : http://www.790wpic.com/towerupdate.html

Scott Fybush said...

Whether or not Cumulus owned WRQK had no bearing on the company's ability to move WWIZ closer to Youngstown.

It would have mattered a few years ago, when the FCC looked at signal overlap to determine compliance with its multiple-ownership rules. But the current regs look instead only at Arbitron markets - and in that universe, WRQK counts only as "Canton," while WWIZ counts only as "Youngstown," regardless of whether it's in Mercer or Hermitage.

The change from overlap to Arbitron definitions was what forced CC to sell off several of its Youngstown-market stations - the Grove City/New Castle stations were far enough from Youngstown to avoid counting under the old rules, but were part of the market for the new rules.