CBS Radio Buys 101.9 FM, Converts To Sports Radio

2012 has been a busy year for the New York radio marketplace, with a number of big stations trading hands.

In the latest such deal, CBS Radio has acquired 101.9 FM from Merlin Media, the new broadcast radio group founded by Randy Michaels, the former CEO of the Tribune Co., for $75 million.

CBS intends to use the station to simulcast Sports Radio 66 WFAN, “The Fan,” which also broadcasts at 660 AM; the station will be rebranded to reflect this format change.
The switch spells the end of 101.9 FM’s relatively brief stint as “New Rock,” following a format change from talk in July of this year. The station also laid off several dozen staffers in recent months, suggesting that Merlin, founded by Michaels in 2011, is having a bumpy ride.
The deal comes as CBS prepares to roll out a new sports radio network centered on 66 WFAN’s round-the-clock sports-related content, including live broadcasts and sports talk with on-air personalities lie Mike Francesa and Boomer Esiason, as well as content from WSCR-AM in Chicago, WIP-FM in Philadelphia, WBZ-FM in Boston and WXYT-FM in Detroit, among others.



The CBS Sports Radio network will have additional reach, thanks to a partnership with Cumulus Media, its exclusive syndicator and sales partner, which will help secure affiliate agreements and ad sales. Cumulus will also make CBS Sports Radio programming available on 67 of its own stations.
In April, Emmis Communications sold the intellectual property associated with 98.7 KISS FM to YMF Media, which merged it with longtime rival 107.5 WBLS. Emmis converted the KISS FM station to an all-sports format under the new call sign WEPN-AM, ESPN New York, as part of a local programming and marketing agreement with the sports broadcaster.

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