CBS eyes unloading radio group: KYW, WIP and more may change hands

Les Moonves

If CBS has its way, and gets its price, there could be some big changes coming to local radio.

Variety reports that the media company is looking to sell or spin off some or all of its 117 stations, and that could mean changes at KYW 1060 Newsradio, sports talk's 610WIP (94.1 FM), Oldies 98 (WOGL 98.1), WPHT 1210 talk radio, WZMP AMP96.5 contemporary hits, and WXTU country 92.5.

That's a lot of prominent stations in a lot of different formats.

The move could be made a little more complicated locally because CBS3 TV shares talent and space with KYW Newsradio.

David Yadgaroff, senior vice president and market manager for CBS Philly, did not immediately return a request for comment. 

Last year, CBS Philly was hit hard by company-wide cutbacks. WIP laid off operations manager Andy Bloom and KYW let go of longtime newsman Vince Hill. New management at CBS 3 led to the departures of Beasley Reece, Kathy Orr, Chris May and Erika von Tiehl. ​

CBS chairman-CEO Leslie Moonves confirmed the radio plan Tuesday during the company's Investor Day presentation in New York.

Moonves said the move could be similar to when the company spun off its billboard division in 2014, and a sale, swap or spinoff of radio properties are all on the table. The goal, as always, would be to " unlock value for our shareholders." CBS stock closed yesterday at $52.59 per share. The company's market cap is $24.1 billion.

In a statement Tuesday, CBS Radio said: "It makes sense that CBS Corporation, a company that is now focused primarily on premium video content, would choose to unlock the value of its radio operation. While it is still very early in this process, we are enthusiastic about the possibilities that lie ahead."  

Desire to sell off the properties came about because radio growth has slowed and the stations ha've become a drain on resources. Variety said CBS took a $484 million write-down on the value of its radio station group in the fourth quarter due to poor projections in radio advertising.

One interested party might be Cumulus Media, which owns 500 stations across the country but none in Philadelphia.

-- Staff writer Rob Tornoe contributed to this report.

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