Cumulus Media to drop ESPN on 47 stations


CumulusAs Cumulus COO John Dickey told us, he will be moving their new syndicated product, CBS Sports Radio, to as many stations as possible when it launches in January. That’s bad news for ESPN Radio, which will lose 47 Cumulus affiliates in the process, reported the NY Post.

Cumulus’ Cumulus Media Networks is also repping CBS Sports Radio to advertisers. CBS also boasts a sizable radio presence with its own stations in big markets, including New York, Boston and Dallas. Jim Rome, an ex-ESPN Radio personality, is also joining CBS Sports Radio.

CBS Sports Radio will launch 1/2/13 on around 100 stations, reaching about 10 million households. It also claims it will be the “most listened to sports radio network in the top 50 markets.”

ESPN, however, still boasts 350 station affiliates and reaches an estimated 30 million households.

However, “ESPN affiliates are in small markets. Maybe you find that adds up to a lot of audience,” CBS Radio President Dan Mason told The Post. “Don’t forget that CBS Radio owns most of the top 10 sports stations in the US, and with Cumulus that’s formidable. ESPN has had the market much to themselves, we’re the new entry and we think we put together formidable talent.”

ESPN’s Traug Keller, senior vice president of production and business, isn’t worried: “This has no material effect on us,” he told the paper. “There’s only three or four [Cumulus] stations in the top 50.”

Remember, ESPN Radio and CBS Sports Radio won’t be alone on the playing field as NBC and Dial Global also launched the NBC Sports Radio network to 180 affiliates in September with NFL rights.

See the NY Post story here