It looks like four big Clear Channel FM stations in the Cleveland market, and a number of other stations in three other Ohio markets, are being spun off to a trust to satisfy FCC regulatory caps, in connection with the ongoing effort to spin Clear Channel itself off to private equity firms.
The four Cleveland stations would be: country WGAR/99.5, rock WMMS/100.7, oldies WMJI/105.7 and hot AC WMVX/106.5. They'd go to Aloha Station Trust LLC.
Also on the list of 71 stations - a large number in other Ohio markets - is what appears to be the entire CC Dayton cluster, along with the company's Lima stations. Many of the latter market's CC stations, of course, will land with Dean Goodman's GoodRadio.TV, who's spinning off at least one (WBUK/106.3 Ottawa OH) to yet another owner.
AND ANOTHER UPDATE: This just in from AllAccess...
CLEAR CHANNEL has filed additional paperwork with the FCC sending another 71 stations, including stations in the HARTFORD, FRESNO, OCEAN CITY-SALISBURY, HUNTINGTON, and AKRON markets, to the ALOHA STATION TRUST, doubling the number of stations for which trust assignments have been requested.
At least some of the stations tabbed are stations already destined for other owners, like GoodRadio, Cumulus (in the case of the Ohio/Michigan station swap involving rock WRQK/106.9 Canton on this end), etc...and we have at least one report that the company's WKRC/12 Cincinnati is legally on the trust transfer list, but of course, all of the Clear Channel Television outlets are already in the process of being sold.
So, what's left in Cleveland that is not on the list? How about talk WTAM/1100? And is Akron-licensed WAKS/96.5 "Kiss FM" on the cut list as well, via its COL?
The whole thing is bizarre to us, assuming the details posted on a list in the "Transactions" area of the R&R website are accurate. (An OMW nod of the hat to whoever passed that along to us.)
At least some of this has been speculated. Inside Radio put a list out a few months ago that CC Cleveland would have to sell off at least one FM station to get under non-grandfathered cap limits due to the sale transaction. But...four?
We won't be able to follow this as closely as we'd like, but we'll try to update this item or this blog with anything major or new.
We're just wondering if this is a massive chess game, moving around stations that may one day be moved back into the company once the dust clears, or if Clear Channel is indeed "slimming down".
We're just having very much trouble envisioning the stations listed here in Northeast Ohio actually being sold away...VERY much...