Until 2:45pm Pacific on Tuesday (10/10), the word from those in the know regarding the status of the required divestitures from CBS Radio‘s Reverse Morris Trust-fueled merger with Entercom Communications was “Enjoy The Silence.”
Then, via an e-mail sent to all CBS Radio staff members from President/CEO Andre Fernandez, the abrupt end to the silence was akin to “Lightning Crashes,” or perhaps the Shawn Mendes hit “There’s Nothing Holding Me Back.”
Fernandez spilled the beans that an additional 16 stations are being sold, and he shared exactly what those stations are.
In the e-mail memo obtained by RBR+TVBR late today, Fernandez said, “Entercom and CBS Radio have taken another important step in finalizing the merger of our two companies. A number of regulatory filings were made in connection with the merger transaction. As you may recall, a few weeks ago it was widely reported that Entercom proposed to sell three of its stations in Los Angeles, San Diego and Wilkes Barre. The filings made today propose an additional 16 stations be divested across both companies for a total of 19 stations.”
Indeed, a S-4/A filing was made by CBS Radio to the Securities & Exchange Commission late today. However, a review of the document filed with the SEC fell short of Fernandez’s e-mail memo.
Fernandez wrote, “The list of stations will be available on the FCC website; however, we think it’s important that you hear from us directly about which CBS Radio stations may be affected. I say ‘may’ because the divestiture of these stations still requires regulatory approval, which we expect will happen in the coming weeks.”
Even so, Fernandez delivered more than what Entercom President/CEO David Field or MVP Capital Managing Director Elliot Evers, the designated broker handling the CBS Radio merger spinoffs, has been willing to share. Evers is presently on vacation.
In a statement, Entercom noted, “The amended FCC filings marks another step forward in the process to complete our combination with CBS Radio and we remain on track to close the transaction later this year. Given the ongoing regulatory review, we are unable to comment further at this time.”
Among the 16 stations that have been proposed to be divested, there are 11 CBS Radio stations and 5 Entercom properties.
They are as follows:
WBZ-AM & FM/Boston
The station buyers for these 16 proposed stations have not been announced, and that has already become the subject of heated speculation by at least one radio station consultant who suspects Hubbard Radio or Bonneville International may be in the mix in at least one of the aforementioned markets.
For now, Fernandez would only say that CBS Radio expects to have more information in the coming weeks.
He reiterated that CBS Radio’s day-to-day operations will not change.
“We all remain CBS Radio employees until the merger fully closes, which we expect to happen later this year,” Fernandez said, echoing statements from others involved in the merger.
Fernandez closed the e-mail memo by thanking all CBS Radio employees, saying, “We know this process has been at times a distraction and your tireless dedication and hard work are appreciated. In the meantime, we’ll continue to do what we do better than anyone — inform and entertain our listeners, and serve our partners and the local communities in which we operate.”
— Additional reporting from Santa Monica, Calif.