From Ratings To APAs: Birch Becomes A Broker


The individual who founded Birch Radio, sold to VNU and shut down in 1992, and is the present-day owner of a Raleigh-area radio station recently in the news for its fight over interference from an FM translator has become a media broker. 

Effective Feb. 1, Tom Birch will join Media Services Group as a Director.

He reports to Managing Director Eddie Esserman. 

Birch’s diverse and lengthy background in radio broadcasting includes 13 years as the owner of Lakes Media, which he will continue to own and operate.

The company was recently in the news for a long-running interference dispute between Lakes’ flagship Class C3 Country WLUS-FM 98.3 in Clarksville, Va. and Arohi Media‘s FM translator W252DK, licensed to Durham, N.C.

Before Lakes, Birch served as owner and CEO of Opus Media Group. 

But, Birch is likely remembered among long-standing radio industry professionals as the founder and CEO of Birch/Scarborough Research.

At its peak in the 1980s, Birch/Scarborough employed more than 1,200 people nationwide and maintained sales offices in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Dallas.

“Tom brings a wealth of industry, financial and market research experience to Media Services Group,” Esserman said. “He has raised millions of dollars in investment capital, authored numerous business and financial plans, was involved in successful radio acquisitions and turnarounds and built a major, industry-changing business. He will be an enormous asset. All of us at Media Services Group are thrilled to have Tom’s experience, perspective and involvement in the industry on our team.”

Birch is also a member of the National Association of Broadcasters Committee on Local Radio Audience Measurement (COLRAM), and will continue to have a voice in the improvement of audience measurement metrics from Nielsen Audio and other research providers.

What’s the future of Lakes Media’s day-to-day operation and oversight? “With an excellent management team now running Lakes Media, I decided to leverage my available time as a broker and consultant,” he said. “Through the years, I have worked with Media Services Group in successful transactions and have admired the integrity, intelligence, and experience of Media Services Group members. I am honored to join this elite group.”