I am pondering the merger names as I compose this post:
Clear Channel Radio will also advertise daily deals from Cumulus Media’s SweetJack, the rapidly growing deals platform that provides local merchants – including the best restaurants, spas, salons, stores and venues—the promotional power of radio.
Obviously, this alliance will boost Clear Channel’s already preponderant advertising power—a by-product of its owning multiple stations in multiple local markets. But on top of that, Cumulus (which just dumped indie DJ Jim Ladd in LA) has the green light from the Federal Communications Commission to snarf down the third largest radio chain: Citadel.
Here was FCC Commissioner Michael Copps’ reaction to the mid-September move:
The wheels of media consolidation spin on. Today the Media Bureau approves the combination of Cumulus and Citadel, the number two and number three radio companies in the country, creating a media giant that will own more than 560 stations. Earlier this year we had the huge Comcast-NBCU transaction. Last week we learned of another large company buying up seven additional media outlets. Time after time and in market after market, there are fewer independent options and fewer local voices.
To satiate the FCC and Department of Justice, Cumulus-Citadel will only have to sell off 14 licenses. So basically Cumulus will gobble up Citadel’s 228 stations to create a 570 + 228 = 798 – 14 = 784 station empire, which will launch collaborative ad campaigns with Clear Channel, which owns around 850 stations.
The effective combined advertising entity will represent about six percent of the 10,102 commercial AM and FM stations in the US, but doubtless control a much larger swath of ad revenue in local markets. How big a percentage? The last time the FCC checked in 2007, Clear Channel and Cumulus already enjoyed 74 percent of the radio advertising revenue in Arbitron Metro regions.
Thus, while there doesn’t seem to be any plan for a formal merger of the two remaining giants, an effective ad income duopoly appears to be in the making. This is great news if you are rooting for corporate radio to compete with Groupon and Livingsocial. Maybe not so grand if you’re worried about those other local commercial radio stations out there treading financial water.
So let’s see:
Citacum Channel? CCC-C? Radio Survivor readers are invited to submit their own names and logos.
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