Bala Cynwyd-based Entercom Communications Corp. has hired the former San Diego Padres CEO Mike Dee to head its sports radio business as it seeks regulatory approvals for a $4 billion deal for CBS Radio.
Dee, 53, said on Tuesday — his first day as an Entercom executive — that his "marching orders" were to put together a national advertising platform for Entercom's sports-format radio stations.
"This is the first time that the company has taken a strategic view at this altitude on the business," said Dee, noting that most of the Entercom station advertising has been traditionally locally managed.
Dee spoke on the phone from KGMZ (95.7 FM) in San Francisco, an Entercom station that airs the Oakland A's, Oakland Raiders, and Golden State Warriors.
There will be a "learning curve" in his transition from sports executive to radio executive, Dee said. But it is one that he can handle because of his long-established relationships, he said, noting the calls he was receiving from league and team officials after the announcement of his hiring Tuesday.
The Padres parted ways with Dee, who ran the team's baseball and business operations, in October after the team went 219-267 (.451 winning percentage) over his three full seasons in charge, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Dee's career also includes stints as CEO of the Miami Dolphins and chief operating officer of the Boston Red Sox.
He will hold the newly created position of president of Entercom Sports and relocate to Philadelphia with his family this summer, reporting to Entercom CEO David Field.
Entercom has said the combination of Entercom and CBS Radio stations will enable it to compete with other big media companies and grow its radio audience and advertising share. Entercom/CBS would be the nation's second-largest radio conglomerate after the No. 1 radio group, iHeartMedia.
Controlled by the Field family for decades, Entercom announced the $4 billion deal with CBS Radio earlier this year and is seeking the necessary approvals with the Federal Communications Commission. The deal will require Entercom and CBS to unload 15 radio stations around the nation to comply with station-ownership regulations.
Dee seems likely to be familiar with Entercom, which owns three sports radio stations in the Boston area and one in Miami.