Note usage of the term "Top 20" market as opposed to ""Top 10" market. That means this rumor likely pertains to markets #11 - 20.Rumor Of The Moment: Is iHeartMedia part of a three company station swap about to take place in a Top 20 market?
The market in play could be one of the following:
#11: Miami-Fort Lauderdale FL 09-04-19 PPM 4,070,400
#12: Seattle-Tacoma WA 09-04-19 PPM 3,863,400
#13: Detroit MI 09-04-19 PPM 3,813,700
#14: Phoenix AZ 09-04-19 PPM 3,662,700
#15: Minneapolis-St. Paul MN 09-04-19 PPM 2,957,900
#16: Puerto Rico 08-13-19 4S 2,922,100
#17: San Diego CA 09-04-19 PPM 2,853,400
#18: Denver-Boulder CO 09-04-19 PPM 2,720,200
#19: Tampa-St. Petersburg FL 09-04-19 PPM 2,704,100
#20: Nassau-Suffolk NY
I think we can rule out Nassau-Suffolk (which is nothing more than an embedded submarket of NYC and Puerto Rico.
I also don't know why on earth iFart would want to make any changes in Tampa, Phoenix or San Diego, which are three strongly performing markets for the company where little if any room for improvement exists.
Weird things have been occurring in the Denver market recently, both involving iHM stations and those owned by other companies. Also, iHeartMedia has a couple underperforming properties in both Miami and Seattle-Tacoma. All three of the aforementioned markets are dynamic and are intensely competitive. So, if a three-way deal is going to be made, Denver, Miami and Seattle-Tacoma are the three markets most likely to see such a deal transpire.
But what about Detroit? Cannot it be ruled out? No, it cannot! What's interesting about Detroit is this - it is one of only two markets from the above list where CUMULUS owns assets. (The other is Minneapolis - St. Paul.)
Might iHM want to get its hands on 96.3 WDVD and 760 WJR? Possibly. Granted, between WKQI and WNIC, iHM already commands an impressive share of female targeted ad spend, and an acquisition of WJR would be more about a national strategy involving assets like Rush Limbaugh than any sort of local strategy.
Might Beasley want to acquire those same two stations? Sure.
I think it's less likely Beasley would be in breach of a revenue concentration cap than iHM if it were to acquire WJR and WDVD, and irrespective of revenue concentration concerns, iHM would need to flip one of its existing stations anyway in order to squeeze-in WDVD under revenue concentration thresholds.
So, how's this for a scenario?
- iHM picks up WDVD and WJR;
- iHM then flips either 97.9 FM or 106.7 FM to Beasley.
Hell, remove Beasley from the equation and replace them with Entercom. If iHM were to flip either 97.9 FM or 106.7 FM to Entercom, it would be very interesting to see what would transpire!
How about this - iHM sends 97.9 FM to Entercom, retains WJLB's intellectual property and moves it to 106.7 FM, and then Entercom will have command of all local FM spectrum from 97.1 MHz all the way to 99.5 MHz! Think about that for a second - not one, not two, not three, but four (!!!) full power FM signals in a row smack dab in the middle of the dial would be controlled by Entercom.
Entercom could then keep the Wheelz classic rock format around - which would nicely complement 97.1 The Ticket - or flip 97.9 MHz to a WWJ simulcast. Under this scenario, iHM would have no white male oriented FM stations left in Detroit, so they wouldn't care. iHM would be happy, because they would have three very strongly performing stations among Caucasian women in their control - WKQI, WDVD, and WNIC. They would remain a strong Urban radio player, since WMXD and WJLB (albeit at a new home) would remain in their hands.
Here is yet another scenario to ponder - Entercom buys 96.3 WDVD, iHM buys 760 WJR, and no trading of stations between those two companies (or any other pair of companies in the Detroit market) occurs.