After dumping a few hundred small and mid-sized stations as part of a big corporate restructuring and transaction to take the company private in 2006-2008, Clear Channel is suddenly back in the
acquisition business, with plans to acquire 29 radio stations owned by Quantum Communications in small markets across the U.S.
The Quantum properties to be acquired by Clear Channel
include dozens of stations in Cape Cod, Massachusetts; Myrtle Beach and Florence, South Carolina; Brunswick and West Point, Georgia; and Auburn, Alabama. In return, Quantum is getting WALK AM/FM,
serving Long Island, a Clear Channel property currently held in trust under the terms of the transaction to take Clear Channel private, as required by the Federal Communications Commission.
After the Clear Channel-Quantum transaction is complete, Quantum, in turn, will sell WALK AM/FM to Connoisseur Media, a broadcast radio holding company which owns 36 stations across the
U.S., most concentrated in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest.
There is also speculation that Clear Channel may bundle the newly acquired stations with some of its other small
market stations to make them more attractive for buyers, implying potential further divestment to focus on its medium and large markets. There’s also talk about potential format changes at the
stations if Clear Channel chooses to hang on to them.
Although overall radio revenues are flat, stations have been changing hands with notable frequency over the last year. In
September, 2013 Cumulus sold or swapped 55 stations in 11 small marketers to Townsquare Media, receiving 10 small market stations in return, along with $160 million cash, in a deal with a total value
of $238 million. Cumulus used the proceeds of that sale to help finance its $260 million purchase of Dial Global.